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200 years of Tweed management could change

The River Tweed brings £18 million to the Borders economy Credit: ITV Border

The management of the River Tweed could change following a review of river management in Scotland.

The Scottish Government are consulting the public on plans to reform fisheries across the country.

It means the River Tweed Commission, which has managed the river for more than 200 years, could be replaced.

They argue that a centralised Scottish management system wouldn't work for the Tweed as it crosses the Border with England.

Nick Yonge from The Tweed Commission said:

Fisheries management is very variable throughout Scotland but the Tweed is very different, it has its own law, it covers both sides of the Border both in Scotland and in England, it has been set up by both Westminster and Holyrood governments. We think the River Tweed Commission satisfies all requirements and objectives that the Scottish government has laid out, which it does through this special legislation that it already has.

– Nick Yonge, River Tweed Commission

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said:

We are seeking to modernise and improve Scotland’s fisheries management system as a whole and the Tweed is part of that process.

The Tweed is one of Scotland’s best managed fisheries. In fact, many of the things that happen on the Tweed already to manage the health of the river, to grow the economic benefits which that supports and to involve a broad range of the local community are precisely the kind of things we want to achieve more consistently across Scotland as a whole.

We are consulting on the proposals at the moment and hope that as many people as possible in the Borders let us know their views and suggestions so that the steps we take can do the most to benefit both the Tweed itself and Scotland’s wild fisheries as a whole.

– Scottish Government spokesperson

The Public Consultation will be held until August 7th. A drop-in session is being held at the Ormiston Institute between 11am-3pm on the 22nd July.

Watch Jenny Longden's report here.


Clamp down on illegal fishing in Cumbria

An angler fishing. Credit: PA

The Environment Agency says it carried out more than 30 patrols to catch people fishing illegally in Cumbria and Lancashire over the May Bank Holiday weekends.

It's a particularly bad time, because May falls within the coarse fishing 'close season', when coarse angling is suspended on rivers, streams, and specified canals and stillwaters to protect spawning fish.

During the two Bank Holiday weekends, Agency staff carried out 61 visits to waters across Cumbria and Lancashire, served more than 62 report forms for illegal fishing, and checked more than 628 anglers for rod licences.

Our enforcement teams have been in out in force – particularly over the last couple of bank holidays – and will continue to be over the coming months.

The number of anglers caught red-handed is testament to how seriously we take illegal fishing but worryingly it shows a blatant disregard for the law and the health of fisheries.

People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport but running the risk of criminal conviction and a fine. There is no excuse – it costs just £27 for a whole year and you can buy it from the Post Office website.”

– Sarah Chare, Environment Agency head of fisheries

Haaf net fishing threatened by new quotas

Credit: ITV Border

New tougher quotas for salmon catches could mean an end to over a thousand years of Haaf net fishing on the English side of the Solway.

From this week, fisherman are only allowed to catch three salmon throughout the whole season.

The Environment Agency says this quota is needed to protect stocks.

But fishermen say it's threatening their way of life.

I think this could be the final blow. And what I would like to do is have a meeting with the Environment Agency and work out a more balanced solution which would ensure our future and the future of the fish. Because I think we're almost becoming as endangered as the salmon."

– Mark Graham, Haaf-net fisherman

Concerns raised over traditional fishing in Annan

Credit: ITV Border

A demonstration is to be held outside Annan Town Hall this evening to raise concerns about the future of stake and poke nets on the Solway.

There are talks for the nets to be banned, due to reports of low salmon stocks in the River Eden.

Local fishermen are worried that hundreds of years of traditional fishing methods may be lost.


Scotland's fisheries low on stocks

The fishing industry is key to the prosperity of many of South Scotland's coastal communities. But some fishermen are concerned that stocks are getting low.

They claim the management of inshore waters is under resourced and more action is needed to support the sector.

Kathryn Samson reports from the Borders coastal town of Eyemouth:

MSP's debate Scotland's 'under resourced' fisheries

Fishermen in Scottish waters are struggling Credit: PA

MSPs are debating what steps can be taken to protect and improve Scotland's inshore fisheries.

In communities like Eyemouth in the borders, it's a key industry, and fishermen there are struggling because of low stocks.

The Scottish Government says it's committed to developing the sector, but Fishermen's leaders say the groups set up to manage inshore waters are under resourced, compared to those in England.

Tweed salmon catches up 40%

Figures show that salmon catches in the River Tweed are up 40% on the previous year.

A report by the River Tweed Commission shows that a total of 20,316 salmon were reported caught last year, up from 14,566 in 2012.

Chairman Dougas Dobbie put the increase down to a late run of exceptional catches, due to the autumn rainfall.

The Tweed Commission will go through the report at their AGM at the Cross Keys in Kelso at 9.30am this morning (3rd March).

The meeting is open to the public for the first time.

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