Thursday, September 3, 2009

Helicopters patrol fishing waters off southern Scotland

Bass can fetch a high price in the hotel and restaurant industry

Helicopter patrols have started over the waters off southern Scotland in a bid to tackle illegal fishing.

Fisheries groups are concerned at the use of gill nets on the northern Solway to capture bass which have a high value in the hotel and restaurant industry.

The nets are illegal and are often set close to river mouths, and catch other fish like salmon and sea trout.

Jamie Ribbens of the Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) said threatened species were being killed by the practice.

It is legal to catch and sell bass, but the problem is the use of gill nets, which are prohibited by law.

Mr Ribbens said: "We've been concerned about this issue for some time.

"These illegal nets are killing many threatened fish species which is such a waste."

The GFT is working with Marine Scotland Compliance and salmon fishery boards across Dumfries and Galloway to tackle the issue.

Mr Ribbens added: "Populations of salmon and sea trout are a concern and we need to do everything we can to protect existing stocks." …

Helicopters patrol fishing waters

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