July 16, 2008

Salmon Netting Rights Could Breach EU Law

DUMFRIES and Galloway Council has been warned it will be in breach of European law if it exercises its coastal salmon netting rights to the east of the mouth of the River Annan, at the end of the current lease in 2009.

The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA), Britain's leading gamefish conservation body, says it would only be legal if the council can prove conclusively that the nets do not catch salmon destined for the River Eden. The river, which flows into the inner Solway Firth, is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for salmon which gives it the highest levels of protection under EU law.

Paul Knight, executive director of S&TA, said the council was bound by the EU's Habitats Directive. "This states that such an authority may only license an activity if it is absolutely certain that there will be no detri mental effect on an SAC. In this case, before granting a new lease for salmon netting the council would be obliged to commission a comprehensive scientific survey to ascertain whether any salmon caught at this location were of Eden origin."

A council spokesperson confirm that it had received a letter from S&TA and "will consider the contents carefully and will be seeking legal advice on this complex issue".

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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