North East Salmon Net Fishery

3rd January 2013 in North East

There is something uniquely mean-spirited and vindictive about the campaign by one of the richest power-blocks in this country to extinguish the small-scale net fishery for salmon and trout in the North East of England.

Letter to Fishing News from the Chairman of the NFFO North East Committee

There is something uniquely mean-spirited and vindictive about the campaign by one of the richest power-blocks in this country to extinguish the small-scale net fishery for salmon and trout in the North East of England.

This issue, although cloaked in spurious conservation arguments, has always really been about the resentment of recreational anglers and riparian owners towards the small share of the catch taken by the traditional inshore drift net and T&J nets.

No expense has been spared to hire ex-DEFRA and Marine Scotland civil servants to advise and front the lobbying campaign.

The Environment Agency has been scrupulously fair in its consultations about the new Net Limitation Order. But it was when the issue entered the political realm, with ministers who really should have declared an interest and stepped aside, that the angling lobby really found traction.

This has echoes of the original decision by John Selwyn Gummer to phase out the drift net fishery in 1992. It is a matter of only small satisfaction that despite holding high office of state and church, that sanctimonious politician's historical legacy will primarily be a video clip of him force-feeding his daughter a burger on national TV during the outbreak of BSC.

We will fight this decision. Given the odds I don't know if we will win. But it is important to stand up to this kind of self- interest and cronyism masked as conservation.

Ministers had an opportunity to support a traditional, small-scale, well managed inshore fishery and have preferred to take the other option. It is nothing less than a disgrace.

Ned Clark

Chairman

NFFO North East Committee