Restrictions on the killing of wild salmon could be introduced by a targeted system based on fish stocks, Environment Minister Aileen McLeod announced today.
In response to extensive consultation on salmon kill licence proposals over the past six months, the Scottish Government will now further consult on revised proposals on the following salmon conservation measures:
The killing of salmon will be managed on an annual basis by categorising fishery districts and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in relation to their conservation status;
Fishing outwith estuary limits will be prohibited for a period of three years followed by a review;
Steps to reduce killing of salmon will be required in areas where salmon are in moderate conservation status;
The killing of salmon will be allowed in areas in good conservation status;
Conservation plans will be required in areas where salmon fail to meet good conservation status;
Fishing will be restricted to catch and release only, ending deliberate killing, in areas where salmon are in poor conservation status. To put this in context, 93 per cent of rod caught spring salmon were released in 2014, as was 82 per cent of the annual rod catch.
Commenting on the new proposals, Dr McLeod said:
“Over recent months we have had many discussions with those impacted by the proposed kill licence measures. As a result of extensive consultation, we have moved away from the idea of an individual licensing system and will not be pursuing the introduction of any charging regime. We will however be introducing the concept of a conservation plan in areas where salmon fail to achieve good conservation status.
“The marked decline in wild salmon stocks warrants a serious response and the Scottish Government is required under European rules to ensure our salmon fisheries are sustainable and compliant.
“Restrictions on our fisheries are never taken lightly but action to conserve stocks is, in the long term, essential to protect the sustainability of the communities and ecosystems that they support.
“There will now be a further 28 day consultation period to hear views on these revised proposals, details of which will be published later this week. I would urge all those with an interest to respond to the consultation.”