The Tweed Foundation is currently mulling over the merits of introducing autumn catch and release rules, particularly for hen fish, on the Tweed.
“Might the prospects for preserving the diversity of our stocks on Tweed – and thereby improving their resilience to the many outside influences and pressures on them – be increased if we aim to return as many of our late autumn fish as possible?” is the questioned being posed by the Tweed Foundation.
Over the last few years, autumn catches have reduced, particularly at the end of the season in November, which is why the question of catch and release for autumn salmon/females has been raised.
While there is no shortfall in newly hatched fry numbers on the Tweed the concern is the diversity of fish spawning - late running fish may have a particular genetic trait that is different to fish running in the spring and summer.
This has led the Tweed Foundation to consider it to be “a useful precaution to allow as many of these as possible to spawn, maximising their input to the fry population and making sure that their type will be maintained within the Tweed catchment till the environment again changes in their favour”.
“Given the changes in the environment over the years it is a necessary part of salmon management to preserve the diversity of salmon types within a catchment so there is always at least one type that will do well under whatever the current conditions might be.”