Options to combat a legal challenge under the EU Habitats Directive should be discussed at a delayed Annan Common Good Sub-Committee meeting later this month and not at an Annandale and Eskdale Area Committee meeting in Annan next Wednesday as was thought to be the case.
Councillor Ronnie Ogilivie, the area committee chairman and former chairman of the common good fund sub-committee, said: “We want to get something sorted out.”
Five groups are using the EU Habitats Directive to claim that catching and keeping of salmon in the Annan area is affecting salmon stocks in the River Eden Special Area of Conservation in Cumbria.
Common good sub-committee members were due to hear on April 29 that three options had been drawn up in a bid to avoid a legal showdown.
But with that meeting cancelled, Royal Burgh of Annan Community Council members feared it would instead go to the area committee where they have no formal input.
The Annan Common Good Fund meeting being arranged for later this month will consider the three options drawn up in an attempt to avoid a legal showdown:
* The first option is to allow fishing for salmon to continue under a catch and release system, with a review of catch data and trends.
However, a report says this would not be an option for stake and poke nets.
* Option two is to implement a quota system, establishing a total allowable catch for the Solway. This would see licences issued, quotas based on a formula per netsman, and the introduction of a carcass tagging system.
In this case the report says it would be difficult to implement with stake netting as it cannot differentiate between species, and says that, ‘strictly viewed, this option is not guaranteed to provide a complete justification for continuing to fish under Article 6 (4) of the Habitat’s Directive’.
* The third option is a suspension of the stake and net lease, with compensation to be paid. Members are told that ‘this option accords with counsel’s opinion.’