Conservation proposals welcomed by Esk Fisheries

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Esk Fisheries Trust welcomed new Scottish Government salmon conservation proposals, which acknowledge the contrasting stock levels in the North and South Esk rivers.

Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust (ERFT) has welcomed the revised proposals on the killing of wild salmon. Restrictions on the killing of wild salmon in rivers are now likely to be in line with a targeted system based on fish stocks.

Scottish Government proposes to exclude rivers where salmon stocks are clearly deemed to be robust and sufficiently numerous, from a new conservation regime. The latter will be restricted to those rivers where stocks give cause for concern.

ERFT chairman Tom Sampson said: “We are pleased that the North Esk, where salmon stocks have held up reasonably well in recent years, has been designated a Category One river in Scottish Government’s new classification list. This amounts to recognition that current exploitation levels are sustainable and the status quo in terms of management measures is sufficient. We should however monitor the situation carefully to ensure that there is no slippage and encourage anglers to release as many fish as possible.

“The South Esk has seen declining runs in recent years and it is entirely appropriate, given that it is a Special Area of Conservation for salmon, that Scottish Government has given it a Category Two classification, which does not require 100 percent catch and release but does require that exploitation is reduced. The classification will be reviewed annually and it is hoped that, with reduced exploitation and the cessation of coastal netting south of Montrose, the South Esk’s classification can soon be upgraded.”

Details of the proposals are available at www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform/licence.