As part of the new 2019 bye-laws the netting season for the T-nets operating off the Northumberland Coast was reduced from the traditional 26 March to 31 August to a shorter season extending from 26 March – 31 May with all salmon caught having to be released. However trials of a modified design of T-net are currently taking place by 5 nets to see if this modified net will safely allow salmon to swim through whilst catching sea trout. 3 of the nets in this trial will be operating in the Coquet and Tyne Conservation areas. If successful then there is the threat that a sea trout net fishery could continue to operate off the Northumberland Coast over the traditional season of 26 March to 31 August. Although this will require a change in the bye-laws the WAA are very concerned about this threat particularly at this time when sea trout numbers are falling.
We are also concerned that netting of any kind is allowed in the Coquet and Tyne conservation areas as, understandably, these nets traditionally catch 4 time and 10 times respectively more fish than nets elsewhere. WAA would like netting in these two conservation areas to cease forthwith as was proposed in the initial Salmon Consultation document issued by the EA.