Many of you will remember that as part of the recent Salmon Exploitation Review conducted by the EA all salmon stocks in English rivers were categorised as either At Risk, Probably at Risk, Probably Not at Risk or Not at Risk. In the north east a similar exercise has now been conducted by the EA for sea trout stocks. The results are as follows:-
- River Salmon Sea Trout
- Coquet Probably at Risk At Risk
- Tyne Probably not at Risk Probably at Risk
- Wear Probably not at Risk Probably at Risk
- Tees Probably at Risk Probably at Risk
- Yorkshire Esk Probably not at Risk Probably at Risk
As you can see the assessment of sea trout stocks is worse than that of salmon. It is inevitable that this will lead to some organisations and individuals calling for compulsory Catch and Release (C&R). The Wear Anglers Association (WAA) do not believe compulsory C&R is the best way forward and that voluntary C&R is a much better approach. Rod anglers are not the problem here. Over recent years rod anglers have responded responsibly and rapidly to the EA and Angling Trust request to release more fish. Whereas at one time anglers might have been killing significant numbers of fish that is no longer the case with Wear Anglers safely releasing 81% of salmon and 78% of sea trout caught; this corresponds to zero fish being released by the offshore nets (2017 EA Statistics). In 2017 all the nets in the North East Region caught over 35,000 sea trout whilst anglers caught less than 10% of this (3,200). Of these they safely released 2263.
Nevertheless anglers’ C&R statistics could be improved and we would ask all anglers to help support the WAA argument that voluntary C&R is the way forward by safely releasing as many sea trout and salmon as possible. Please help demonstrate our responsibility as conservation minded anglers.