Members should be aware that the Scottish Government is considering introducing a ban on the killing of spring salmon before 1 April 2015 in order to protect stocks.  The announcement is produced in full below and as you can see consultation on this proposal will commence in the near future.  The Committee is keen to hear from members on this issue and would welcome any comments on this proposal.  All comments should be addressed in the first instance to the secretary.  We will update you on the closing date for comments when this becomes available.

Members should note that this proposal is entirely separate from the Wild Fisheries Review and that to the best of our knowledge this report will be placed before Ministers in October.

“Minister announces consultation to protect early-running spring salmon

Options designed to take proactive action to protect the early-running spring salmon that are at particularly low levels across Scotland, will shortly be consulted on by the Scottish Government.

Early today, in response to a written PQ from Rob Gibson MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, announced that he intended to consult on statutory conservation measures, to be effective for commencement in 2015 requiring mandatory catch and release until 1 April, together with a delay in the start of the net fishing season.

The conservation measure would be for an initial 5 year period at which point it would be reviewed.

Mr Wheelhouse said:

‘The Scottish Government places a high value on conservation of our wild Scottish salmon and other wild fish stocks. While I recognise the tremendous contribution that catch and release and the voluntary cessation of netting have had in previous seasons, I think more can be done to provide certainty about the protection of spring stocks. I will therefore consult on statutory measures to replace and enhance the voluntary practices from previous years across Scotland, for a defined period.

“I am very conscious that the Independent Review of Wild Fisheries will report in October 2014. And I will need time to consider the recommendations made, and to consult further on firm policy propositions in due course. However, I have taken the view that the protection of the spring stocks cannot wait for that work to be completed, and I want to make clear our future intentions as regards this specific issue of concern.

“Today’s announcement underlines the commitment of the Scottish Government to managing and protecting Scotland’s fisheries in general, and in this instance, salmon in particular.”

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The Committee.