Scotland

Wild salmon killing could be banned except under licence

Fishing on the Tay Image copyright PA
Image caption The system of closed days for salmon fishing could be scrapped under the proposals

The killing of wild salmon could be banned, except under licence, under measures aimed at protecting Scotland's wild fisheries.

The proposal is one of several contained in a Scottish government commissioned review.

Other recommendations include a new National Wild Fisheries Unit and scrapping the system of "closed days" for salmon fishing.

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse said he would consult on the findings.

An independent panel led by former Scottish Natural Heritage chairman Andrew Thin was asked to look at ways of modernising the management of Scotland's wild fisheries.

The panel's report contains 53 recommendations for change.

It suggests a "small National Wild Fisheries Unit" be created within government to provide strategic direction and regulation.

The strategy would be delivered through "locally empowered Fisheries Management Organisations" (FMOs).

Rod licence

The report notes that salmon fishing has previously been the principal driver of policy but suggests the new system takes an "all species approach".

The FMOs could be formed out of existing district salmon fisheries boards and fisheries trusts.

The report makes no firm recommendation on whether a rod licensing scheme should be introduced in Scotland, but says "serious consideration" should be given to the idea, with any money raised re-invested in angling.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The killing of wild salmon would be banned unless a licence was granted

It calls for a ban at the earliest opportunity on the killing of wild salmon unless a licence is granted. Applicants would need to demonstrate sustainability.

The system of "closed days" for salmon fishing is outdated and ineffective, it argues, and should be abolished except for certain coastal netting operations where stocks benefit from periods of closure.

The system of "closed seasons" should be reviewed and extended to all species, based on scientific evidence, and brought under the control of the new national unit.

It suggests a new Angling For All programme be developed to encourage participation with an emphasis on young people and links with the tourism strategy.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said angling alone was worth £134 million to the Scottish economy.

He said: "This independent review was tasked with considering the requirements of a modern, evidence-based management system that is fit for purpose in the 21st century and is guided by the conservation needs of our wild species.

"We need to ensure we have a robust and sustainable system so our fish thrive and people can continue to enjoy wild fishing and the socio-economic benefits that flow from it for generations to come."

Mr Wheelhouse said he would study the report in depth and consult on proposals to implement a new management system.

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