The Scottish Government’s failure to comply with European law has prompted the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) to submit a formal complaint to Europe, over the lack of progress in implementing the Habitats Directive, which aims to protect Atlantic salmon populations in Scottish rivers designated as Special Areas of Conservation.
This lack of progress was highlighted recently at the 31st Annual Meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) in Saint-Malo, France. The meeting heard that coastal salmon netting was increasing in Scotland – in stark contrast to almost all other Atlantic salmon producing nations. It was also identified that there was no catch limits in place.
A government spokesman conceded that there had been an increase in coastal salmon netting, and that in the last three years fishing rights to an additional 12 miles of coastline and that dormant netting stations had been allowed to re-open without an impact assessment being carried out.
“Scotland is not taking its international obligations on salmon protection seriously,” commented Hugh Campbell Adamson, Chairman of S&TA(S) “It is the only major producer of wild salmon in the North Atlantic that is actually presiding over an increase in coastal salmon netting.
“The situation is being closely watched, and given the Scottish Government’s intransigence on dealing with coastal netting, we have been left with no viable option but to take the matter to a higher authority and submit a complaint to Europe."