Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board

Protecting and Improving The Tay System


Wild Fishery Reform & Salmon Conservation Regulations

In 2014 Scottish Ministers embarked on a review of "wild fisheries" in Scotland. Details of this review can be found here.
As the review progressed, two aspects came to prominence in 2015, "licence to kill" (salmon) and "Wild Fisheries Reform". Scottish Government information on licence to kill can be found here and Wild Fisheries Reform here.

Scotland’s salmon rivers are now categorised annually by Marine Scotland into one of three categories of health (more information here). As all of the Tay and its tributaries above Earnmouth is considered to be in the healthiest category (Category 1) there is no need to change our current conservation policy for the Tay.

However, for rivers in category 3, complete mandatory catch and release is required. This was introduced on 1 April 2016. In 2016 this applied to the rivers Earn and Eden within the Tay district. The Board had major concerns over the methodology used by Scottish Ministers to classify rivers and thought that the Earn and Eden may have been wrongly classified. The reasons why we believed this is explained here. In September 2016, after some changes to the methodology, Scottish Ministers reclassified the Earn and Eden as Category 2, which means mandatory catch and release will no longer be required in 2017. While the Board welcomed this change it believes further improvement of the methodology is still required as explained here . As of December 2016 the proposals for 2017 (Earn cat 2, Eden cat 2 and Tay cat 1) have been laid in the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Ministers are proposing to change the type of organisations that manage Scottish salmon and freshwater fisheries. Details of the process can be found here. The Board has responded to several consultations (our response to that of 7 August 2015 can be found here and that of May 2016 can be found here). As our consultation responses show, we had and continue to have major concerns over some areas, particularly finance. It was originally thought that Scottish Ministers would introduce a Bill to the Scottish Parliament later in 2016 or early in 2017. This timetable appears to have slipped and while there appears to be a commitment for a Bill at some point in this Parliamentary term, it does not appear clear as to when this might now be.