New byelaw bans the sale of rod-caught salmon and sea trout

The Salmon and Trout AssociationAnglers will no longer be able to sell salmon or sea trout which they catch on rod and line, and all commercially caught fish will have to be tagged by netsmen to make them legally saleable following the introduction of a new Environment Agency byelaw for England and Wales which becomes active on January 31.

The byelaw brings England and Wales in line with Scottish law, which banned the sale of rod caught salmon and sea trout in 2007.  However, the carcass tagging of commercially caught fish is a step further than Scotland and mirrors the successful initiative run for several years in Ireland.

Paul Knight, Chief Executive of the Salmon and Trout Association (STA), said: "This is the culmination of many years of lobbying by the STA and colleagues and is great news for salmon conservation and the enforcement of anti-poaching laws.  Whilst most anglers act responsibly by keeping the odd fish for the pot, the majority of rod caught salmon are now released alive back into the water. However, a minority have always sold their fish for profit and, as a result, have had a significant impact on some local river stocks, jeopardising management and conservation measures by fishery managers.

"It will now be very much harder to so sell fish 'under the counter' because hotels, restaurants and fishmongers will be prosecuted if the salmon and sea trout in their possession is not properly tagged."

Knight added: "The EA and Defra should be congratulated for taking this action, which has been possible as a byelaw under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. It is a welcome step towards more efficient enforcement of illegally caught salmon and sea trout, as effort can now be put into monitoring markets rather than having to spend so much time catching poachers in the act of taking fish - a notoriously difficult and resource sapping exercise." 

The ban of the sale of rod caught fish and carcass tagging were major recommendations following the review of fisheries legislation by the Warren Committee in 2000.  The Review Group's work was shadowed by the Moran Committee, a coalition of leading English and Welsh fisheries and angling organisations chaired by Lord Moran, Chairman of the STA at the time.  The STA took a lead role in giving evidence to the Warren Committee over salmon and sea trout issues and has since kept up pressure for action on these vital issues.

Salmon and Trout Association Chairman James Carr said: "This is an excellent example of why Association received charitable status for its fisheries, environmental and educational work.  We have lobbied for anglers to be banned from selling salmon and sea trout in the greater interest of salmon conservation, and the vast majority of fellow anglers agree with our stance.  We can still enjoy our sport while contributing hugely to the social, economic and environmental benefits derived by communities from angling and fisheries management - angling truly working for the public benefit."

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