The SNP Scottish Government today (Wednesday 9th March) used their majority on the Rural Affairs Committee to push through their Salmon Conservation Order, which will see a blanket ban on salmon taking for every fishing method for at least a year on the River Annan and the River Nith, from April 1st onwards.
The ban comes despite the Scottish Government’s failure to undertake electronic fish counting on the rivers.
Despite not being a member of the Rural Affairs Committee, Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray attended the Committee Meeting in order to ask the Scottish Government to re-examine the order which will threaten the future of angling clubs on the Rivers Annan and Nith, historic Haaf netting in the Solway and fishing related tourism across the region, and failing that, called for the Committee to reject the order.
In the end, all opposition members of the Committee voting against the Scottish Government’s plans, however SNP politicians chose to pass the regulations there and then rather than have it proceed to Parliament to be debated and voted on by all MSPs at a later date.
“Haaf netters and anglers across Dumfriesshire will find it extremely difficult to forgive or forget this disastrous order which has been pushed through by the Scottish Government. What makes things worse is that there has been simply no proper scientific evidence given by the Government to back up their decision to introduce a blanket ban on salmon taking in our region. Although it appears that they may be invited to take part in belated scientific studies, angling Associations in the region and the haaf netters on the Solway will receive no direct compensation to counter their loss of earnings as a result of the ban, and it will also mean the Annan Common Good Fund will take a hit which would decrease the potential for investment in Annan. The ban will be felt in every part of the region, as fishing tourism will likely fall, something which is absolutely crucial for rural economies like ours.”
“It speaks volumes that the SNP had to use their majority on the Rural Affairs Committee to force this guesswork decision through, with every single member of the opposition voting against. If they had any consideration for our angling associations, and if they cared about preserving our ancient fishing methods, then they simply had to delay the conservation methods in order to undertake proper scientific research on our rivers to give them the basis of making a more reasonable decision.”