Scottish fishing regulations and conservation measures welcomed

Scottish ministers propose to make conservation regulations to introduce a licensing system for the taking of Atlantic salmon outside inland waters and to prohibit the killing of salmon without a licence in Scotland.

The proposed licensing regime will be accompanied by a carcass-tagging scheme to aid enforcement of any kill licence granted. This scheme will require that any salmon taken must have an individually numbered tag affixed to the carcass.

During the 12-week consultation process, the ministers also sought views on the restriction of certain baits and lures to aid the safe release of salmon caught by rod and line. This will entail further consideration before any further legislation is enacted.

"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."


Noel Carr of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (Fissta), said: "Following years of lobbying to the Scottish and EU head of delegation, our efforts have borne some small but significant fruit in the announcement to introduce a similar carcass- tagging regime similar to our Irish system, first introduced in 2001."

Fissta chairman Paul Lawton added: "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. Scottish anglers now face the same state consultation process that Fissta came through since 2001 and we are prepared to assist in every way requested."

Loss of salmon report
The Information Commission (IC) has annulled the Department of Fisheries' refusal to release the accident report on the loss of 230,000 salmon in a February 2014 storm at Gerahies, Co Cork, according to Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE). The department had refused to release the report on the grounds that it was an "internal communication" and that the public interest "would not be served by the disclosure", FIE said.

In its appeal to the commission, FIE claimed the release is “a matter of extreme public importance not only in light of the incident, but also because of the department’s failure to carry out its regulatory functions properly in ensuring compliance with aquaculture licensing conditions aimed at preventing the escape of fish”.

The department was “strongly of the view” that the release of any parts of the deliberative process of advising the minister what action to take “would be premature and would unduly constrain the minister in respect of any action which he might deem appropriate”.

“I do not accept,” the Inform- ation Commissioner wrote in the ruling last month, “that the connection between the requested information and an ongoing, seemingly indefinite deliberative process provides an adequate basis for refusal.

“I also consider there is a very strong public interest in maximising openness and accountability in relation to how the Department of Marine and the marine institute carry out their functions under the relevant legislation governing the aquaculture industry,” the statement concluded.

Clones Coarse Festival
There was a good turnout for the Clones Coarse Festival in Co Monaghan last week with a different lake fished daily over the four-day competition. Each of the venues produced a consistent show of bream with Dave Slater netting four for his 11.34kg (25lb) weight on Bairds Shore including a 3.1kg (6lb 14oz) specimen. But it was Enniskillen angler Tony Kersley, whose consistent fishing throughout kept him at the top, who was the winner of the festival. Results: 1, T Kersley 33.7kg; 2, N Mazurek 32.6kg; 3, S Winters 31.3kg; 4,W Easter 26.4kg; 5, J Kendrick 26.2kg.

Lough Sheelin competition
Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association held its annual McDonnell Cup competition last weekend with mor e than 30 anglers setting out from Kilnahard Pier. Only one fish could be entered per angler and, while several exceeded 45cm, it was Stuart Marry who won the day with a fine fish of 56.2cm (about 2kg). Results: 1, S Marry (Dublin), 56.2cm; 2, D MacEntee (Cavan), 52cm; 3, M Dunne (Mullingar), 49.5cm; 4, A Berry (N.Ireland), 49.3cm; 5, D Murtagh (Cavan), 48cm.