Sea Trout, a cause for concern

10 Apr
  • In the Angling Trusts current ‘Save our Salmon’ (SOS) campaign there is no mention anywhere about the need to safeguard declining sea trout stocks. Sadly the acronym ‘SOS’ has left sea trout behind somewhere.
  • In the May 2017 edition of the Trout and Salmon magazine, there are clear references to the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust’s desire to finally end mixed stock fishing. The proposal to withdraw all drift net licences in the north east fisheries area at the beginning of the 2018 season is a step in the right direction, but only deals with part of the problem.
  • Since 1993 it has been government policy to phase out mixed stock fisheries. Unfortunately, informed sources suggest that there is a possibility that the T&J netting of sea trout will be allowed to continue, with salmon caught in the same net having to be returned.
  • This is hardly the way to end mixed stock fishing.
  • T&J nets cannot differentiate between salmon and sea trout nor can they know which particular river the fish is trying to return to. It is also conceivable that retained T&J nets will be allowed to continue netting in close proximity to rivers classified as being either ‘at risk’ or ‘probably at risk’.
  • To outline their efficiency, in the season 2010 (a year of abundance?) T&J nets, off the north east coast, caught 12,000 salmon, more than half the total net catch for England and Wales. In 2015 the nets accounted for 60,000 sea trout and 16,500 salmon. A sustainable source? Perhaps, but not for long!
  • There is also the issue of netted salmon being so damaged as to make returning a fish to the water simply not viable, a financial consideration for both net operators and the market for wild fish.
  • By stopping drift netting, over 16,500 salmon will no longer enter the food chain. Is this the real reason behind allowing T&J netting to continue? Will sea trout replace salmon on the menu in pubs and restaurants? And in five years time will the acronym ‘SOS’ actually come to mean ‘Save our Sea Trout’?
  • The NRAA believe that all mixed stock netting should stop now, before it becomes too late.
  • If you share the same opinion, please attend the North East Fisheries Forum (Tyne) on the 10th May 2017 at the Marriott Hotel, Metro Centre, Gateshead, and make your voice heard.