S&TA briefs Peers for House of Lords Debate

S&TA helped influence a House of Lords debate raised by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean on April 9th over The Plight of the Salmon.

S&TA helped influence a House of Lords debate raised by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean on April 9th over The Plight of the Salmon.

S&TA director Paul Knight briefed Lord Forsyth on English and Welsh issues, while Andrew Wallace of the Association of Salmon District Boards gave the Scottish angle, over concerns that too little was being done for salmon management and conservation in the UK. Several other peers were also briefed.

The Hansard report on the proceedings shows that the debate was powerful, with many well-informed and experienced peers giving excellent speeches on the major issues. These include a new English/Welsh Fisheries Bill, mortality at sea, aquaculture, drift netting, transgenic salmon, predation and habitat degradation.

S&TA also highlighted the socio-economic importance of angling throughout the UK, often in remote communities with few other sources of income, and this point was well-aired throughout the debate.

In his summary speech, Lord Forsyth referred to three points concerning salmon issues he would like Lord Whitty, the Government spokesman, to take back to the Government. Two of these have equal repercussions for all other freshwater fish as well:

was consensus across the House on the need for immediate action.

was frustration on the ability to move forward on fisheries legislation in England and Wales, especially after all the work that has been done during, and since, the review process.

as urgency over the need for action on drift netting, and devolution should not stop the Government from exerting pressure on Scotland and Ireland for the benefit of the whole of the UK.

Lord Forsyth concluded, “If he (Lord Whitty) listens to the speeches, he will realise that the patience of fishermen has run out. He…can do his country, and indeed the international community, a singular service if he focuses on the arguments put forward tonight.”

Paul Knight, director of the Salmon & Trout Association, said, “we are delighted at the obvious quality and power of this debate, and the fact that salmon management and conservation issues have been put before The House of Lords again after an absence of six years. Many of the issues discussed will benefit all freshwater fish, not just salmon, and we must continue to lobby Government to ensure some serious action on their behalf.

View Full cop of the debate