Tweed needs a good 2016 salmon fishing season

Fishing on The River Tweed
Fishing on The River Tweed

Opening day of the 2016 salmon fishing season is fast approaching and both fishermen and local businesses are hoping for a better season than the last two.

Poor catches over the last two years, along with recent proposals in Scottish Government’s Wild Fisheries Review, have contributed to a sense of concern on the river.

However, the announcement that local fishing will remain under the management of the River Tweed Commission and the Scottish Government’s decision to abandon licences for the fishing of wild Atlantic salmon in favour of a policy based on conservation limits instead have been greeted as encouraging news for the sector.

Tweed angling contributes £24 million a year to the local economy, supporting 513 full time equivalent jobs and a downturn in catches and further controls on the sport could have had serious repercussions, the fear being that fishermen would look elswhere.

Ewan Harris a rural specialist with Savills, based in Wooler said: “The sport of salmon fishing is fundamental to the tourist industry in the Borders and Northumberland.

“It is encouraging that local and Scottish government policy makers have been supportive and we are all hopeful of a buoyant season ahead.”

Savills has launched its ‘Prime Tweed Salmon Fishing’ catalogue in time for the start of the start of the Tweed season. It details price per rod per day, five-year average catch of both salmon and sea trout, and also includes top tips from local ghillies about where to find the most productive and attractive streams and pools and where to find some local refreshment after a day on the river.

This week Scottish Environment Minister Aileen McLeod confirmed a number of changes to regulate the killing of wild salmon in Scotland which will come into force on April 1.

Dr McLeod said: “Our salmon is a valuable and important asset which we must protect and balance conserving stocks with the interests of those who fish for salmon.

“The changes have been subject to extensive consultation and we have listened and made some changes to the district classifications as a result of all the feedback we have received.

“I am confident we now have the right package of measures, including prohibitions on killing out-with estuary limits, inland waters being managed by conservation status and mandatory conservation plans, to ensure wild salmon have a sustainable future in our waters.”

Alasdair Laing, chairman of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, said: “Most river systems already have voluntary conservation measures in place which would need only modest adjustment to comply with the new regulation.”