Consultation on the Yorkshire and NE coast drift net sea trout fishery

The EA are running a consultation on whether to extend the season for the Yorkshire and NE coast net sea trout fishery. We would encourage everyone to respond to preserve our sea trout stocks. The consultation closes 21 February 2020.

EA consultation details are here.

There are supporting documents which you can download, and the survey can be submitted online or using this document. It is very short – essentially one question. 

Our full response is here. This is the first paragraph of our response: 

The Wild Trout Trust believes that there is no justification for any extension to the season for sea trout in the north east beach net fishery. Indeed, we believe that there is sufficient evidence, as highlighted in the consultation report and elsewhere, that the north east sea trout beach fishery is a mixed stock fishery, exploiting at-risk populations with no demonstrable, sustainable surplus. The precautionary principle would dictate that the fishery should cease with appropriate compensation paid to the net licencees, at least until such time that the management of the fishery is underpinned by reliable information on stock composition and the presence (or absence) of a harvestable surplus.’


Information from the EA web page for the consultation:

Background:

Last year, between June and August 2019, the Environment Agency undertook extensive trials at Amble and Alnmouth in Northumberland, South Shields in South Tyneside and Filey in North Yorkshire of modified nets to determine whether they could be used to catch sea trout preferentially to salmon.
The trial results proved the nets to be successful in their quest to intercept sea trout, whilst only entangling a small number of salmon. The impact on salmon stocks from the modified nets was very low. 

Sea trout capture numbers:

On the other side of the equation, the impact of an extended sea trout net fishery on sea trout stocks is less certain, since large numbers of sea trout were caught during the trial period.

Focus:

The majority of the salmon populations in England exposed to the beach net fishery are assessed as probably at risk’. Also seen to be probably at risk’ is a number of sea trout stocks contributing to the coastal net fishery — indicating a precautionary management approach should be adopted.

Options have been developed for potentially extending the beach net fishing season for sea trout. Each option has some degree of impact on the livelihoods of beach net licensees, and on the levels of protection provided to the stocks of salmon and sea trout exposed to the regional net fishery.

We are consulting on the future management of the net fishery to give people the opportunity to understand the options under consideration and provide us with any information they think is relevant to our decision making. You can respond on-line or use the response form below. 

Sea trout 2 2015
Sea trout. Photo: Paul Sharman