STOCK NETTING WATER POLLUTION HYDROPOWER
AND FISH PASSAGE DECLINING WILD
Mixed Stock Fisheries
What is the issue?
S&TA's work on Mixed stock fisheries (MSFs) is relevant to commercial fishing for salmon and sea trout. MSFs fisheries are those capable of intercepting fish from more than one river system, which means that there is no way of knowing to which stock a particular fish belongs. This makes management of individual river stocks very difficult, and has led to MSFs being considered bad management practice by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO), to which all the Northern Hemisphere countries with runs of wild Atlantic salmon are signed. The high seas fisheries traditionally prosecuted off the Greenland and Faroese coasts were classic MSFs, in that the fish they exploited originated from many different countries. However, of immediate concern to S&TA are those coastal fisheries still operating off the Scottish and English coasts, which continue to kill significant numbers of salmon each year.
What S&TA has achieved so far
Salmon issues are so complex that the most successful achievements are almost always brought about by collaboration between several fisheries NGOs, often in different countries. We work particularly closely in the UK with the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB - Scotland), Rivers & Fisheries Trusts for Scotland (RAFTS), Atlantic Salmon Trust and Fish Legal, but also with NGOs in Ireland, Norway, France, Canada and the USA.
- Successfully lobbied for a zero net limitation order on the North East Coast Fishery, which means that as fishermen retire from the industry, their licenses cannot be passed on, thereby effectively phasing out the fishery over time
- Helped buy out the majority of the North East Coast Drift Net licenses in 2003
- Helped in the wide-ranging NGO action which resulted in closure of the Irish Drift Net Fishery in 2006
- Lobbied through NASCO for limited high seas salmon fishing off Greenland and the Faroe Islands
- Sat on the Scottish Government's Working Group into the remaining Mixed Stock Fisheries around the Scottish Coast
- Lobbied Defra in England for further action to limit the number of salmon killed each year by the remaining North East Coast fishermen
What still needs to be done?
- S&TA continues to work for the closure of all MSF fisheries for salmon (and sea trout) in England and Scotland, lobbying both Parliaments and their relevant civil servants over the issue and regularly reminding them of their responsibilities as signatories to NASCO.
- If England and Scotland (and Norway) continue to allow MSFs to exploit salmon, then the Greenlandic and Faroese fishermen will demand quotas to reopen their commercial salmon fisheries. This must be avoided at all costs, otherwise the adverse conservation implications for UK salmon stocks could be disastrous. S&TA will hammer this fact home with both Governments at every opportunity.