In 2019 Tweed rods released back into the river 86% of what they caught, but killed nearly 900 salmon (14% of 6382).
The Garda netting station, operating at the harbour mouth killed 336 salmon well below the 2018 figure of 485.
So with the closing of all drift nets and severe restrictions being placed on the remaining operating T&J nets, where all netted salmon have to be returned. Probably, for the very first time northern rod anglers in season 2019 killed more salmon than the nets.
In other words, the rods have now become by far one of the biggest predators of adult salmon in this region.
Some will argue, particularly nets men and the legislators that this does not sit well with the nets having given up their livelihoods, whilst their main voluble critics the rods carry on killing salmon as before.
This some what self centred approach raises the question as to why there are as yet no restrictions on killing salmon, particularly autumn fish whose numbers seem to have collapsed.
There are no easy answers here, individual views will be many and varied but it does suggest that many rod anglers have not yet got the message that “migratory fish stocks are in a perilous state” and killing them will only invite draconian controls that will satisfy no one.
The future of the sport is at risk and everyone connected with it needs to get on board and put conservation before self satisfaction otherwise in five years time game angling may no longer exist as we know it today.