The Environment Agency are currently seeking views on extending the Sea Trout netting season. The following is a template for anyone who wishes to complete the consultation document.
All fishing clubs, individual anglers and riparian owners are encouraged to take part in the consultation and can use this response in anyway they see fit. Only by being involved can everyone connected with game angling influence the future of the sport. The consultation document can be found at:-
1. Environment Agency figures show that at this point in time sea trout and salmon stocks are in a perilous state not only in local North East rivers but throughout the UK and Northern Europe; the perilous state of these stocks is clearly outlined in the Environmental Agency Consultation document. It is therefore vital that nothing is done to put the protection and recovery of these stocks in jeopardy and that any decision made in extending the sea trout net fishing season follows a precautionary approach. It is for these reasons that at the current time anglers should favour Option 1: Maintain the current netting season with no extension.
2. The Consultation also asks about the use of the modified T and J nets. As trials of the modified T nets have shown that they are successful in reducing the number of salmon caught then, again following the precautionary principle, it is believed whatever option is finally decided the use of the modified nets should immediately become compulsory.
3. If Option 2, 3 or 4 is finally selected, or when sea trout and salmon stocks recover to the extent there is a surplus available for harvesting, then it is vital that the number of fish harvested is rigorously monitored by the EA. In such circumstances the EA should be proactive in controlling the number of fish harvested through strict annual quotas.
4. There are very real concerns about netting in the marine Conservation areas. Surely a Conservation area is just that; in this case an area that is a save haven where salmon and sea trout can swim unmolested. We firmly believe netting in the Tyne and Coquet Conservation areas should cease immediately (as proposed in section 5.2.13 of the 2018 EA report “Managing salmon fisheries in England and on the Border Esk”). This view is reinforced by the position of the netting stations at Alnmouth, Amble and South Shields shown in the photographs on pages 23-25 of the report on the trials of the modified designs of T and J nets. These netting stations are very close to mouths of the Aln, Coquet and Tyne respectively, questioning the acceptability of netting so close to the mouth of these rivers. We note that the South Shields berth caught 1991 sea trout during the 2019 trial. This is 11.5% of the total number of sea trout AND salmon that migrated up the Tyne in 2019.