Anglers in Scotland will be shielded from increased costs. Proposals to introduce rod licences and a new wild fisheries levy will not be taken forward, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.
The Scottish Government has ruled out these measures as well as the criminalisation of freshwater fishing without written permission and proposals to overhaul the structure and remit of District Salmon Fishery Boards, following a consultation on draft provisions for a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill and draft Wild Fisheries Strategy.
The Scottish Government will enable work streams which encourage, empower and support the modernisation of fishery management, including the piloting of voluntary Board mergers to identify any existing legislative issues, and will also develop a fishery management plan to trial any changes with Boards. It will also explore potential freshwater conservation provisions ahead of the introduction of a Bill to Parliament.
Ms Cunningham said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our famous and valuable wild fisheries, to modernise our fishery management structures and to establish a more secure and sustainable future for this vital sector.
“Our Wild Fisheries Bill will build on our significant conservation achievements to date, including the annual salmon conservation measures, Spring Conservation Orders, and the moratorium on coastal mixed stock fishery netting for three years.
“However it’s important that we represent the interests of our anglers, that’s why we have listened to the sector’s concerns around increasing costs and restricting access to fisheries and are ruling out the introduction of rod licences and a freshwater levy.
“We’ve heard through the consultation that these steps would limit the opportunities for our anglers and potentially discourage young people from taking part. Further, outwith the Bill, we will therefore work with the angling community to identify ways to increase participation and to improve engagement across the sector.
“I am grateful for the considerable time and energy that the wild fisheries sector has given to date to help inform the programme of reform. We will continue to work closely with our key angling stakeholders to make sure the legislation that is ultimately brought forward is robust and fit for purpose, so that anglers have confidence in the management and development of the fisheries that they depend on.”