Tweed estuary net fishing row now resolved

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

A temporary peace has been declared in a row over the netting of spring salmon at the estuary of the River Tweed.

River Tweed Wild Salmon Company boss Michael Hindhaugh has bowed to pressure from the River Tweed Commission and ceased his operations at the Gardo netting station at Berwick.

The social enterprise company, set up last year, incurred the wrath of the commission by starting net fishing on Friday, May 13.

The commission says that was in contravention of a long-established voluntary code that no netting should take place until after June 15 to ensure spring salmon are not killed and can safely return to the river before spawning in the autumn.

Andrew Douglas Home, a former commission chairman, acknowledged that netting from April 1 was “technically legal”, however, but added: “It is also technically legal for all rod beats to kill salmon after April 1, but, of course, they do not because everyone knows this is a precious and endangered stock which cannot sustain harvesting.”

Nick Yonge, clerk to the commission and managing director of the Tweed Foundation, said: “We are extremely concerned about the decision to start killing spring salmon, and we have urged him to desist.”

Mr Hindhaugh stressed that his company had done nothing illegal and had taken advice from the Scottish Government, but he said:“As a gesture of reciprocal goodwill, the River Tweed Wild Salmon Fishing Company will stop fishing and put its legal right to kill salmon on hold until June 16.”