The Environment Agency has announced closure of some of the NE English net fisheries, as part of a suite of measures contained in new byelaws to protect imperilled salmon stocks. Details of the announcment are here. Whilst these measures will hit hard a number of licensed netsmen in the area, the drift net fishery especially seemed anachronistic in the context of salmon populations in crisis. The new byelaw also introduces angling restrictions, with ‘At Risk’ and ‘Recovering’ salmon rivers under mandatory catch-and-release from June 2019 and renewal of the 1998 Spring Salmon Byelaws.
However, we are concerned that NE sea trout stocks will see increased fishing pressure from the T and J nets. The Agency’s own assessments for the NE’s principal salmonid rivers suggests that sea trout may possibly be in a worse state than salmon, yet the trout net fishery continues. The Agency believes that cessation of the drift nets, a shorter netting season and non-replacement of expired licences will see a progressive reduction in the numbers of sea trout killed. We’re working with sister NGOs to try to ensure that sea trout get a better deal.