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Angling on River Nith drops to concerning levels

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Angling on River Nith drops to concerning levels

ANGLING on the River Nith has reached an all-time low, sparking concerns about water pollution and low fish stocks.

The numbers of people buying tickets to fish on the river has been dropping steadily over the past decade and 2023 reached its lowest level with just 121 permit purchases for the entire year.

This was a drop of 15 percent from the 142 ticket sales in 2022, and 19 percent on decline on the 148 tickets purchases in 2021.

Records show that, in 2013, fishing tickets sales were almost double what they were in 2023.

In a review of sales and charges last week, there was an option for Dumfries and Galloway Council to increase fishing ticket prices – but councillors decided to freeze the fee for local residents to try and prevent a further decline.

The decision was taken at the recent meeting of Dumfries Common Good sub committee.

Nith Councillor John Campbell said at the meeting: “I am concerned that the number of tickets that are being distributed are reducing all the time.

“So, it’s a worry that if we keep putting prices up, and we’re not comparing other like beats along the river, for example Drumlanrig or others, then people are just going to go with the reasonably priced beats.

“If you want to do a day’s fishing and it’s only up the road, they are just going to go to these places. So I am concerned about that.

“I’d be erring on keeping prices the same to encourage more anglers to purchase a licence.”

Nith Councillor David Slater said: “Ticket sales over the years have virtually come down to a third of what they were.

“If you put the prices up these sales might go down again.

“Unfortunately now if you walk up the side of the Nith you hardly see a fish at all. Fish stocks are obviously still depleting.

“One of the reasons for that is because of run-off from farms and chemicals in the water. That’s having a major effect on our rivers nationwide. There’s also the fact that sewage is spilling into rivers as well.”

While local residents will avoid any hike in fishing fees, visitors will not be let off the hook and will see an increase to £267 for the season, while locals will pay £166.50.

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