Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has branded the Scottish Government’s proposed blanket ban on salmon taking in the region as “poorly researched”.
The Scottish Government are proposing a blanket ban on salmon taking for every fishing method for at least a year on the River Annan and the River Nith, despite their failure to undertake fish counting on the rivers.
The Scottish Government’s evidence is largely based on fish counts from only four rivers in Scotland (North Esk, Beauly, Awe and Dee), and rod catches, which is largely dependent on angling effort.
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“I have serious doubts over the evidence behind proposals from the Scottish Government to completely ban salmon taking in our region. Yes, salmon conservation is extremely important – but so is the conservation of angling and the historic haaf netting in Dumfriesshire. If the Scottish Government push this poorly researched ban through, I have serious concerns for the future of fishing in our local area. Our Angling Associations are sensible. They’re already actively encouraging catch and release of their own accord and shouldn’t be punished for the guesswork of individuals sitting in Edinburgh.”
Elaine is also extremely concerned for how the Scottish Government proposals will affect the local economy, with many small businesses dependent on the associated trade which comes with the angling industry.
“We already have a fragile economy in Dumfries & Galloway. Obviously tourist anglers contribute to the local fishing boards by way of purchasing a permit. But there’s also the knock on trade associated with small businesses, such as B&B’s, hotels, bars and shops etc. This trade cannot be put at risk by the potential decline in visiting anglers as a result of the ban.
“The Environment Minister represents the South of Scotland and intends to stand for election in Dumfries and Galloway next year. I am surprised she has taken so little interest in the fishing interests of our region.”