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Haaf netters fight to save historic fishing tradition

Fisherman practice the tradition of haaf netting. Credit: ITV Border

Fishermen practicing a historic tradition in the Solway dating back to Viking times hope a new exhibition might swell their numbers.

Many haaf netters can trace their skills back several generations, but they say the craft is under threat because they're forced to release any salmon they catch.

30
fishermen are currently using this traditional method.

This type of fishing was once carried out in the Solway but is now limited to the river Annan, the Nith and the River Eden in Cumbria. Haaf netters use a net mounted on a large rectangular frame, which is supported by three legs

It's thought to date back thousands of years to the Viking Invaders, with Haaf being the Norse word for Channel or sea.

Credit: ITV Border

John Warwick has been a haaf net fisherman for more than 40 years. He hopes future generations will take up the skill: "What we want to do is to make sure that tradition continues.

"If we don't get younger people coming along, to take it up, there will be no-one to pass that knowledge on to and the tradition - after a thousand years - will die out."

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The exhibition, at the Devil's Porridge Museum, is on until the end of March 2020.