SCOTLAND TO END COASTAL NETS

PRESS RELEASE – FISSTA IRELAND 24.7.15
Sometimes the long hard campaigns of demanding, persuading, imploring salmon countries to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their failures to protect our shared wild Atlantic salmon resource pays off, as FISSTA welcome the news from Scotland that some progress is underway. At the Nasco conference of 2014 in France, Scotland found themselves embarrassingly isolated when their netting licenses were substantially increased. Our NASCO NGO Group highlighted both Norway and Scotland’s disregard for the conservation efforts of Greenlanders as financed by the NASF and ASF private agreements. Following years of consistent lobbying to the Scottish and EU head of delegation by the wild Atlantic salmon conservation lobby our efforts have finally borne some small, but significant fruit in the announcement of 23rd July 2015 by the relevant Scottish Ministries of their intention to introduce a similar carcass tagging regime similar to our Irish system first introduced in 2001.
The new proposals also include the long awaited prohibition on the netting of wild Atlantic salmon in inland waters or what is termed in Ireland as stake netting or officially recognised in legislation as fixed engines or bag nets, a practice that has been banned in Ireland many years ago.
In a most unusual decision, it seems further details will be released through a discussion forum set up by Government which will invite comments. Some may suggest that more will be made up as they go along depending on the reactions from the stakeholders. It appears that this is a time when anglers and conservationist must be vigilant for fear of a complete climb down by state agencies charged with implementing the new licensing process based on Baynesian exploitable surplus principles as introduced in Ireland over fifteen years ago.
When the final end to driftnetting came in 2006 in Ireland we believed it would improve the numbers of wild salmon returning to our shores but sadly this never materialised as recovery was impeded by the increase in sealice emanating from salmon farms that impacted onour migrating smolts.
FISSTA,Chairman Paul Lawton said
“We welcome and wish our fellow anglers in Scotland well with these proposals which at long last protect migratory fish populations by ending mixed stock fisheries. We in Ireland suffered serious damage to our stocks by Government delaying this decision until 2006, so we hope that through the new consultation process Scotland shall see much better fishery management principles and legislation to end that other serious threat of sealice that continues to eradicate up to 39% of our migrating smolts.as reported by Inland Fisheries Ireland scientists. Scottish anglers now face the very same state consultation process that FISSTA have come through since 2001 and are prepared to assist in every way we are requested.
It is the responsibility of all nineteen salmon countries including Scotland and Ireland to protect the migratory smolts as they travel to their feeding grounds in the Noth Atlantic. The ten mega fish farm plan by Irish Minister for Marine Simon Coveney TD is in direct contravention of this responsibility to share our most valuable resource. There is little point in saving the wild salmon in Scotland for them to be infested with sealice as they travel through Irish waters. These migratory channels must also be protected by the refusal of any further license applications for salmon farms now.”
ENDS

MARINE SCOTLAND STATEMENT
BAN THE KILLING OF WILD SALMON EXCEPT UNDER LICENCE AND ACCOMPANYING CARCASS TAGGING SCHEME
1. In terms of paragraph 11 of schedule 1 to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Act) notice is hereby given that the Scottish Ministers propose to make conservation regulations under section 38 of the Act to introduce a licensing system for the killing of wild salmon in Scotland and a prohibition on the taking of salmon outwith inland waters. This follows the 12 week public consultation seeking views on a ban on the killing of wild salmon except under licence together with an accompanying carcass tagging scheme and the potential for restrictions on the use of baits and lures. The general effect of this proposal will be:
a. to prohibit the taking of Atlantic salmon outwith inland waters b. to prohibit the killing of salmon in Scotland without a licence
2. The licences will limit the number of fish which may be taken by the licence holder in a specified area. The Scottish Ministers will have the power to amend, suspend or revoke a licence and applicants, or licence holders, will have the right to challenge decisions made by the Scottish Ministers.
3. Under section 38(7) of the Act it is an offence to act in contravention of the regulations or to fail to take any action required to comply with a requirement of the regulations. If a person is found guilty of such an offence they will be liable to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
4. Salmon continue to face many pressures in the marine and freshwater environment and the latest Marine Scotland Science stock status report for 2014 shows a decline in stocks over the last few years www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/04/6918/downloads. The proposed licensing system will provide a new mechanism for the Scottish Ministers to control the killing of wild salmon ensuring that where harvesting of stocks takes place it is sustainable.
5. It is envisaged that applications will be assessed using the best available information on the number of returning salmon over a five year period. Assessments will be made on the basis of fishery districts with special considerations to be taken into account for special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive (“SACs”). If the estimated number of returning salmon is greater than that required to meet the conservation objective there is a harvestable surplus and a licence may be issued. Any harvestable surplus will be allocated between fisheries within a district/SAC in line with their respective catches considered over a five year period. This will be subject to review.
6. The regulations will be reviewed alongside the progression of emerging recommendations from the wild fisheries reform programme.
7. The licensing regime will be accompanied by a carcass tagging scheme to aid enforcement of any kill licence granted. The carcass tagging scheme will require that any salmon taken must have an individually numbered tag affixed to the carcass.
8. During the 12 week consultation we also sought views on the restriction of certain baits and lures to aid the safe release of any salmon caught by rod and line. It is clear from our consultation that there is a wide range of views on the use of baits and lures, good practice guides and the existing voluntary restrictions on their use. We intend to consider further before looking to progress any future legislation
9. In parallel, Marine Scotland launched a week long online discussion forum today on the detail of the kill licence regime, including the application process, context and parameters; and accompanying carcass tagging scheme and further views on the use of baits and lures. Details of how to participate can be accessed on the Marine Scotland website: www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-TroutCoarse/fishreform/licence
10. Representations or objections in respect of the proposed conservation regulations should be submitted by 19 August 2015 using the contact details below. Representations shall include, where relevant, details of any financial implications particularly related to loss of income.
Fiona Hepburn Marine Scotland Salmon and Recreational Fisheries Team Area 1B North Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ Email: salmonandrecreationalfisheries@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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