Fisheries Management Scotland, the representative body for Scotland’s District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fisheries Trusts, including the River Tweed Commission, has expressed anger at the decision of the only commercially active netting station on the River Tweed to kill early-running spring salmon.

The Gardo net fishery, which operates in the English part of the Tweed in Berwick under Scottish law, while legally permitted to kill salmon from 1st April, is doing so in direct contravention of the River Tweed Commission’s Spring Salmon conservation policy, which states that all salmon on the river must be released until June 30th.

The River Tweed is governed by the Scotland Act 1998 (River Tweed) Order 2006, due to the fact that the river straddles both Scotland and England. As a consequence of this, the Gardo fishery is the only fishery in England where salmon can be killed before 1st June.

Dr Alan Wells, Fisheries Management Scotland Chief Executive said, “It is extremely disappointing that the River Tweed Wild Salmon Company has chosen to kill these precious spring salmon, despite the River Tweed Commission’s Spring Salmon conservation policy, which has been in place since 1998, and the fact that anglers on the Tweed are voluntarily releasing 100% of fish caught. As is the case on many rivers, spring salmon are a distinct stock component which are managed separately from summer and autumn salmon. We will do our utmost to support the River Tweed Commission in their efforts to protect this vital and iconic resource.”

“The Scottish Government have recognised that the Scottish system of setting salmon Conservation Limits for rivers is not currently capable of being applied to distinct stocks within rivers. We will therefore work with the Scottish Government to support the River Tweed Commission and other DSFBs, in exploring all options for additional conservation measures, for all methods of fishing, to ensure that spring salmon are protected for future generations.”

The River Tweed Spring Salmon Code can be viewed here.