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Annan lodges £17k claim after fishing law changes

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Annan lodges £17k claim after fishing law changes

A COMPENSATION claim of nearly £17,000 has been lined up over changes in salmon fishing laws on the Solway.

Annan Common Good Fund sub-committee is set to pursue the sum from Marine Scotland, warning that support for community projects might otherwise be impossible.
Chairman Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “The Scottish Government shouldn’t blink an eye when it comes to this.
“They should just pass this and give us the level of compensation that we require, and this is what it is.”
A ban on the killing of salmon affecting the whole of Dumfries and Galloway was confirmed by the Scottish Government in January in a bid to preserve stocks.
The move has effectively halted stake and poke netting in the Solway.
Only haaf netting was able to continue – with fishermen releasing any caught fish.
Annan Common Good hold the rights to 47 haaf net licences, but reducing the charge per licence due to the new restrictions means a possible loss of £4670.86.
The loss of £3092.30 from the 34 poke net licences and £6000 from the stake net licence is joined by £3000 from the loss of the stake net tenant’s contribution to the annual assessment paid to the River Annan District Salmon Fisheries Board.
The total loss per annum is £16,763.16.
Calling for the full compensation to be paid, Councillor Carruthers said: “It means a tremendous amount for the local community.
“It means that we can still go forward and still help promote local projects, whether it’s the Christmas lights, someone coming for an individual application, whether it’s something to do with Riding of the Marches.”
He added: “If this money stops, then that’s it – we have limited other sources of funding for Annan Common Good; it reduces dramatically.”
Members of Annan Common Good Fund sub-committee will next week be asked to agree the compensation claim, as well as a condition of licence that netsmen agree to take part in scientific research – likely to be carried out over a two-to-three year period starting in 2016.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead previously said officials would work with haaf netters on a scientific project which would allow them to keep some salmon.
During her visit to Annan on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move, and noted that the SNP manifesto pledges to designate haaf net fishing on the River Annan as a historic fishery.

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