Unchartered waters for salmon fishing

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The River Tweed has been classified as a category 1 conservation Scottish river in the Scottish Government rivers and fishery district grading system.

This means that it has “good conservation methods and a healthy stock of salmon where taking the occasional fish is deemed sustainable”.

2016 was the first year that Scottish rivers were sorted into three classifications - class one, class two (some management needed though catch and release not mandatory) and class 3 (where killing of salmon is unsustainable and 100% catch and release imposed). It has been illegal to kill any salmon on a Scottish river since 2015, and this will remain in place until April 1, 2017.

The River Tweed may be regarded as having a healthy salmon stock but another poor fishing season is causing concern amongst fishermen and those employed in the fishing industry.

The Tweed Commission say: “Radical shifts are taking place in Tweed’s salmon stocks, the like of which most of us have never experienced before.

“The complexity of the salmon’s life cycle makes pinpointing the source of the problem challenging: are these changes related to previous cycles, or issues out at sea or, an as yet undiscovered issue?”

Norwegian fisheries scientist Dr Jens Christian Hols, who studies the North Atlantic as an ecosystem, was at Ednam House this week putting forward his theories on what changes are going on within the ecosystem and how these affect the salmon.

Savills director, Ewan Harris commented: “Unfortunately, across Scotland overall, whilst spring and summer catches were positive the 2016 autumn run of salmon has proved very disappointing.

“There are many possible reasons for this: rising sea temperatures and changes to the timing of runs, but anglers were certainly not helped by the unseasonably dry and warm autumn weather.”