Crackdown on salmon poaching in Scotland in bid to reverse their decline

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Group warns that levels of salmon are reaching ‘crisis point’ and vows to do more alongside others to halt its decline.

Three organisations are vowing to crackdown on illegal salmon fishing in a bid to reverse its decline.

Police Scotland will be working with the River Tweed Commission and Fisheries Management Scotland on new measures to stop people taking fish from the water at the Borders and Lothian when they are not allowed to do so.

Catches of salmon in Scotland have reached their lowest number ever recorded.

Part of the new measures include equipping police with the ability to spot illegal practices. They will do this on two specially-designated days.

Chief Inspector, Stuart Reid, said: “Tackling wildlife crime is not just about law enforcement, it is about working with partners across all sectors and the general public to raise awareness and to prevent it happening.

“Wildlife crime occurs across all our communities and no-one wants to see native fish stocks depleted through illegal activity. I am fully supportive and welcome this new joint training venture, which will ensure Scotland’s rich and varied wildlife species will be there for future generations to enjoy.”

Brian Davidson, the director of communications and administration at Fisheries Management Scotland, warned the species was now reaching ‘crisis point’ levels. He said: “Fish poaching is officially the highest volume activity of all 9 wildlife crime categories. We are pleased to be working closely with Police Scotland and our members to address fish poaching at this challenging time.

“These events on the River Tweed will help forge long-term joint working arrangements between fisheries enforcement personnel and Police Scotland and improve understanding of these serious wildlife crimes.”

Fay Hieatt, Clerk to the River Tweed Commission, added: “With the number of Atlantic Salmon returning to our rivers currently in steep decline, it is more important than ever that every fish which makes that successful migration back to its home river is given the opportunity to spawn the next generation.

“Salmon poaching is a serious crime and the River Tweed Commission is proud to be working with Police Scotland to offer specialist training for our local Police officers to equip them with the knowledge to identify fisheries crime. With all organisations experiencing pressure on their resources, we feel that this collaborative approach is an extremely valuable way of making the best use of joint local enforcement capabilities.”