1. Chairman’s Welcome
Barry Gibson welcomed the eighteen people present and thanked them for attending on what was an awful snowy night
2. Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from:
In the absence of the last named, Stephen Drury volunteered to take the minutes.
3. Proposed National Salmon & Sea Trout Protection Byelaws
Objections to any proposals must be made before the 12th April and not the 8th April as originally stated. It was generally agreed that we as a group must maintain pressure on the relevant authorities in order to gain an increased protection for our migratory species.
The announcement that all drift nets will be closed from 2018 was welcomed by all those present (although the EA web site states that ‘drift nets will be off for 2018’ – BG to look into.) Regarding the T & J nets shortened season, concern was raised regarding the policing of said nets, especially the return of any salmon. Caught. Another great concern was the damage to salmon on release from nets – would they survive being caught once let alone the potential for multiple nettings? It was stressed that on a socio-economic front, each rod caught salmon was worth around £1,700 to the greater local economy.
A copy of a document dated 5th March 2018, signed by the Director of Legal Services, Peter Kellet , endorsed with an official seal was also available for members to view. Is this the start of the procedure or a final document raised prior to the consultation?
Most queries by those present were regarding hook sizes and types to be allowed from 2019. Most hooks measured converted to a size 8 for a 7mm gape and size 2 for a 13mm gape. It was generally agreed that these proposals regarding hook types/sizes was not onerous and whilst not ideal were far from insurmountable.
A potential for 8,000 more fish into our river systems could occur under the EA proposals and it was again stated that a response to these proposals must be made by our members. Any evidence of illegal fishing (by nets) must be reported, preferably with boat names, vehicle registrations, dates and times accordingly. Any recovery of stocks must be reviewed in the near future and any potential benefits of a re-stocking programme to be stated.
It was again emphasised that EVERY rod licence holder MUST fill in their catch returns even for blank seasons or nil effort.
Responses to the proposals must be made individually, stressing the need for T & J nets to be banned as of now, as the current situation regarding these as well as drift nets is not sustainable. It was agreed that re-stocking of rivers must be brought up with the relevant authorities (both brown trout and migratory species). Pressure needs to be brought to bear regarding control of cormorants, mergansers and especially goosanders – an alien species, all having a detrimental effect on smolt survival.
In-river obstructions need removing with special mention of the Tees Barrage and the Archimedes screw on the river Wear at Durham being two of the major local problems. It was also proposed that we as anglers help clear up any waste plastic we encounter when on the river bank. It was also suggested that spruce branches, or similar, be placed near the bank as a refuge for smolts, small trout etc. especially close to weirs – proven to work!
A request will be made for the attendance at the next meeting of a representative from the Protection Authority.
All responses must be in by 12th April with special emphasis that T & J nets MUST be policed by the relevant authorities.
5. Meeting Closed
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.20 p.m.