A River Tweed neighbourhood watch has helped bailiffs combat poaching on the river over the past year.
River Tweed Commissioners bailiff reserves, volunteers who spend much of their time on the river, effectively became a Tweed neighbourhood watch scheme
Working with Police Scotland, Tweed Commission bailiffs adopted a partnership approach to fighing organised crime and a new intelligence system was introduced to investigate, gather, disseminate and report information on poaching, markets, dealers, and how they are connected.
“The Bailiff team’s usual patrols resulted in 22 nets being recovered from Lower Tweed, the Whiteadder and Till during 2014,” said Tweed Commissioners chairman Douglas Dobie, in his annual report.
“Many of those finds followed on from information received from anglers or dog walkers; we are extremely grateful for their help.
“Six cases were successfully prosecuted in Berwick Magistrates Court, mostly involving offences on the beach and surrounding areas; a further case was pending at the year end.”
The Bailiff team conducted more early morning patrols and routine visits in and around the fish dealers and markets in Eyemouth at the start of the fishing season in February.
The early part of the season also saw regular and steady numbers of mainly sea-trout being recorded by the coastal nets and put through the fish merchants in Eyemouth.
“The River Tweed Commissioner’s sea-boat was used, particularly in directing patrols to monitor the activities of the coastal nets,” added Mr Dobie.
“In this it proved invaluable in allowing the bailiffs to clearly see, at close range, when nets were set in the sea and actually fishing.
“Much time was also spent patrolling the coastline, in and out of coves and close to shore, checking for poachers’ nets set from land, and using the sea-boat to effectively direct bailiffs on-shore to those nets.
“During the summer and into autumn the bailiffs responded to numerous reports of illegal fishing, mainly on beat around Kelso, Melrose and Galashiels.
“Those caught committing such offences had warnings issued or advice given and where necessary, all fishing tackle was confiscated.”