“Stop fishing or lose salmon”
An Atlantic salmon expert has called for the practice of catch and release to be suspended to ensure the survival of the species in Scottish waters.
Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz of Swansea University described the plight of salmon as “an absolute scandal” and believes that governments are deluding themselves that catch quotas are the answer. He said: “How can we contemplate a scheme where we catch fish simply for fun and put them back in the river in the hope they are going to survive? Of course they are damaged by it.
“There is no guarantee that stopping catch and release would save the fish, but if we don’t, it’s not going to get any better.”
Scottish Anglers National Association president Archie Ferguson told Shooting Times: “There are a lot of issues to address before we attack anglers. Angling goes way beyond catching fish; we are the first line of defence in the protection of water quality, fish stocks and so on. If we don’t have a vested interest in protecting fish stocks, who does?”
Andrew Graham-stewart of Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland, added: “Studies in Scotland show that the mortality of salmon from catch and release is 10 per cent.” He pointed out that the bailiffing of Scotland’s rivers is done by fishery boards funded by money raised from anglers.
The wild salmon population has declined by 70 per cent in 25 years