Esk Salmon Fishery Board ends netting for salmon and sea trout on the River North Esk

Salmon Fishery Board purchases last remaining active netting station in Angus.

The Esk District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) has purchased of the last salmon netting station operating in its area, at the Nab on the River North Esk. Stocks of wild Atlantic salmon have recently been declining steadily across most of the species’ range, and the Esk DSFB has stepped in to help ensure future salmon stocks in the river by stopping the netting, and saving up to 5,000 fish each year.

All salmon and sea trout netted are killed, while anglers release the vast majority of the fish they catch.  It is believed that historic low marine survival rates are behind the decline in wild Atlantic salmon stocks, and although the Esk DSFB does not have any influence over what happens to salmon at sea, it can control what happens to the fish when they enter the river.

Malcolm Taylor, Chairman of the Esk DSFB, said:

“The DSFB has invested heavily for the future of the River North Esk.  While it is sad to see the end of this traditional form of catching salmon, it is essential that we allow as many salmon as possible to return to their breeding grounds to produce the next generation.”

Neil Anderson, fishery manager for the Gallery Beat on the North Esk and owner of a local fishing shop, said:

“This deal will be a huge boost to the river.  With more salmon and sea trout running the river, anglers will have a great chance of catching fish, which is good for the anglers and good for local businesses.”

Rod fishing for salmon and sea trout on the River North Esk is of major benefit to the local economy.  A report commissioned by Scottish Government in 2004 estimated that the salmon and sea trout rod fishery in the River North Esk contributes around £2M to the local economy, which includes indirect fishery benefits to local hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions.

The 2019 fishing season on the River North Esk opens on the 16th February.