Tweed estuary net ban bid is opposed

Gardo netting station, using traditional fishing methods on the Tweed estuary
Gardo netting station, using traditional fishing methods on the Tweed estuary

Berwick Harbour Commission has objected to a proposed Scottish Government ban on net fishing for wild salmon in 2017.

Gardo fishery, owned by the commission, is the only remaining net salmon fishery in the Tweed estuary. It was resurrected as part of the Berwick 900 celebrations last year and has continued this year.

Alan Irving, chief executive said: “Berwick has a long history of net salmon fishing, but this method in the UK is now almost extinct.

“We see the Gardo fishery as a significant tourist attraction where visitors are able to see the traditional methods.

“We believe it important to maintain this aspect of the town’s heritage.”

“There is, however, some uncertainty hanging over the future of the net salmon fishing on the Tweed.”

The River Tweed is a Scottish river and fishing activities are regulated by the Scottish Government, even though the estuary is in England.

Mr Irving said: “The Scottish Government have the authority to prohibit net salmon fishing on the Tweed and base their decisions primarily on conservation grounds.

“Fishing for salmon by net is currently under review and we await a decision on whether this activity will be allowed to continue.

“It has been proposed that net fishing for wild salmon be subject to a prohibition in 2017 and Berwick Harbour Commission have submitted an objection to this proposal.

“Catch numbers of wild salmon by net in the Tweed estuary are low and we contend that the number of fish caught does not significantly affect conservation requirements.”

In a talk to Berwick Probus Club, he added: “I do not wish to be political but I find it somewhat ironic that the prohibition being considered does not extend to rod fishing for salmon further upriver.”