S&TA Letter Published in The Daily Telegraph

Sir – Neil Collins makes valid points about the use of drift nets round the coast of Ireland for catching salmon (Opinion, Aug 5). The Irish drift nets are a deplorable way to manage an Atlantic salmon stock destined for rivers throughout Europe

Sir – Neil Collins makes valid points about the use of drift nets round the coast of Ireland for catching salmon
(Opinion, Aug 5). The Irish drift nets are a deplorable way to manage an Atlantic salmon stock destined for rivers
throughout Europe, especially since salmon are designated a threatened species under the European habitats directive.

As such, salmon are protected in rivers classified special areas of conservation, but the fish must still run
this drift net gauntlet before gaining that protection. Once a salmon has reached its natal river, its
socio-economic value as a game fish is at least 22 times that of its netted cousin and, if caught by an
angler in Britain, it has a 50 per cent chance of being returned to the water to spawn, while all netted
fish die. This is especially topical now that the Irish government is declaring a compulsory catch-and-release
policy for Irish rivers this September.

Defra contributed £1.25 million to the recent voluntary buy-out of the majority of the North-East England
drift net fishery licences. If the Irish act now to facilitate a similar buy-out of their fishery, with
compensation paid to netsmen, then 160,000 salmon will be spared each year to run Irish, English, Scottish
and European rivers, and so boost the social, economic and conservation status of this wonderful migratory fish.

From:
Paul Knight Director, Salmon & Trout Association, London EC4