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Fears for future as salmon changes loom

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By Lisa Barbour
Annan and Eskdale
Fears for future as salmon changes loom

A DECISION concerning the catching and killing of salmon in the region could be delivered imminently.

The Scottish Government are proposing a blanket ban on salmon fishing for at least a year on the River Annan – prompting concerns from local councillors about the impact this could have on trade in the town.
Annandale South councillor Ian Carruthers recently attended a meeting of the Salmon Net Fishing Association of Scotland with fellow ward councillor Richard Brodie.
He said: “What I took from the meeting itself, after a thorough conversation with Jeff Gibbons of Marine Scotland, is that the writing’s on the wall and this is the start of the end of fishing across Scotland – never mind just Annan.
“I think there’ll be a ministerial announcement within the next three or four weeks that says, ‘Right, that’s it.’
“It’s a statutory instrument that can be used, and it’ll be in force as of the next fishing season.”
He added: “Because we’re category three here, that’s catch and release across the board.
“That’s essentially the first step on the ladder towards finishing the fishing industry in this area.”
Meanwhile, Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has voiced ‘serious doubts’ over the evidence behind the proposals.
She said: “Yes, salmon conservation is extremely important – but so is the conservation of angling and the historic haaf netting in Dumfriesshire.
“Our angling associations are sensible. They’re already actively encouraging catch and release of their own accord and shouldn’t be punished for the guesswork of individuals sitting in Edinburgh.”
And fearing the impact any ban could have on the local economy, with many small businesses dependent on the associated trade from the industry, Dr Murray added: “There’s also the knock-on trade associated with small businesses such as hotels, bars and shops. This cannot be put at risk by the potential decline in visiting anglers as a result of the ban.”

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