Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay Opening 2010 in Perthshire, Scotland.

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay Opening 2010 in Perthshire, Scotland.

We are now 2 days away from the Salmon Season of 2010 opening on the River Tay in Perthshire, Scotland. This is an article written By FRANK URQUHART which appeares in the Scotsman today.

Anglers told to put Tay salmon back.

ANGLERS on one of Scotland's leading salmon rivers will have to release every one of the fish they catch until June amid concern over dwindling stocks.
The angling season on the River Tay is due to be officially opened on Friday by finance secretary John Swinney, who is the MSP for North Tayside.

Anglers will be competing for the Redford Trophy, awarded annually for the biggest fish caught on the river on opening day.

But yesterday the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board announced plans to introduce radical conservation measures to further reduce the number of salmon that are not released after they are caught following a disappointing season last year which saw catches decline by as much as 50 per cent on some stretches of the river.

Jim Brown returning a 24 pound prime spring salmon at Stanley, Perthshire, Scotland last spring on the Lower Tay beat at Catholes.
Until now anglers have been asked to follow a voluntary code to release the first salmon they catch each day and to only retain one fish in two.

But this year, for the first time, those fishing the Tay are being urged to return every salmon they catch up until the end of May.

From then until the end of the season all female salmon should still be released and a maximum of only one male fish, weighing less than 10lb, retained each day.

William Jack, the chairman of the Tay board, said yesterday: "

In 2009, the Tay experienced a poor run of spring salmon as well as a disappointing grilse run.

"Over the last few years there has been a very substantial increase in the number of salmon being released safely back into the water by anglers – for which the board is most grateful.

"However, we are mindful of the precautionary principle and believe that the Tay's catch and release code needs to be strengthened yet further.

"We are advocating that no salmon whatsoever should be killed before June and thereafter all hen salmon should continue to be released. In addition no more than one 'clean' male salmon should be killed per angler per day, and where possible it should be a fish of less than 10lb weight."

The code will bring the Tay into line with the catch and release policy first introduced on the Dee, Britain's premier spring salmon river, 15 years ago.

Since 1995, the Dee Salmon Fishing Improvement Association's catch and release policy has allowed more than 30,000 salmon and grilse to be released back to the river to carry on upstream to their spawning grounds.

During the Dee's spring fishing season an estimated 98 per cent of salmon are returned to the river.

Charlie Duncan, a veteran angler who has fished in the Tay for more than 30 years, backed the strengthened policy.

Mr Duncan, a member of the syndicate that fishes the Glendelvine beat on the Tay, said: "Our syndicate has three days a week on the beat and last year we returned all hen fish and all cock fish over 14lb back into the river.

"Personally I am favour of the new policy, but I don't think every angler is going to be happy to go along with the new scheme.

"There are a lot of anglers who have paid an awful lot of money for timeshare beats on the Tay – and I am talking about really big money in some cases – and they will not take kindly to being totally restricted like that."

Voluntary catch-and-release only 70% successful

WHILE most anglers and ghillies support the catch-and-release code for wild salmon, there are those on some fishing beats who still refuse to return their catch.

Fisheries board director David Summers urged anglers to stick to the voluntary policy, warning it could be made compulsory if fishermen ignored it.

"We always get rumours of people who may not follow the code – and that has happened elsewhere," he said.

"At the of the day, if people were not adhering to the voluntary code, there is always the option that the board could apply to the Scottish Government to make it mandatory, as was done five years ago in the North and South Esk. It is not a route we would wish to go down, but if people don't play ball, then the board always has that option."

Last year, the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards called on anglers throughout Scotland to release every fish they caught in an attempt to preserve stocks.

According to catch returns, more than 70 per cent of all salmon caught in Scotland's rivers were released, but the board said there was a "strong case" to make it 100 per cent, following evidence that last year's run of spring fish had been one of the weakest for several years.

Research by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation has shown that the number of salmon dying at sea has doubled, and in some cases trebled, over the past 20 years.

The precise cause of the decline has still to be established. Salmon stay at sea for two years, out in the deep North Atlantic off Greenland, Iceland and the Faroes, before they come to Scotland in the spring to spawn. One theory is that very few spring fish left Scotland two years ago because something happened in their native rivers. However, the widespread collapse in stocks suggests there were no localised problems.

Another possibility is that there has been widespread killing at sea by fisheries.

Global warming could also be to blame. Climate change may have resulted in the plankton, on which the spring salmon feed, being depleted.

The plankton may have also moved to areas where the salmon are not genetically programmed to go to find the huge amount of plankton they need to survive.

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