COLLECTION OF DATA ON THE CATCHES OF SALMON AND SEA TROUT
Records of catches are important because they not only provide a year-on-year measure of fish returning to the river, but also form the basis of a fair and equitable method of collecting the Tweed assessment. Powers are given to the RTC to collect the data.
Under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Act 1951, SEERAD collected detailed data on Salmon and Sea Trout catches; this power is continued under article 21(2) of the Scotland Act 1998 (River Tweed) Order 2006. Under the Tweed Fisheries Act 1857, the River Tweed Commissioners were required to value the salmon fisheries of the Tweed and, for that purpose, they too collected information on the Salmon and Sea Trout caught in the district.
The new provisions in the 2006 Order extend the duties and powers of the 1857 Act. Article 17 of the Order provides that the proprietors and occupiers of salmon fisheries must furnish the River Tweed Commission with such information as is necessary for the valuation of the fisheries in such form and at such times as it may determine. The article also provides that the Commission may use the information for its other functions under the Order.
Failure to furnish the required information, or the making of false statements, is an offence and liable on conviction to a fine which is currently up to £1000.
Compliance with this policy satisfies the legal requirement to provide the appropriate information to the RTC.
As part of the process of valuing the fisheries, and to ensure accuracy, the Commission continues to collect information on catches of Salmon and Sea Trout. To improve the potential usefulness of those statistics for that purpose, the Commission requires that, for each fishery, the numbers and weight of Salmon and Sea Trout be summarised on a monthly basis. To ensure accuracy, the data should be entered on the form overleaf or in a record book, day by day. This should not in practice be an additional burden since a record of each fish caught would already have been kept for the requirements under the 1951 and 1857 Acts.
The information to be recorded is:
a. The date of capture (within 10 days of capture)
b. The species of the fish i.e. Salmon or Sea trout
c. The weight of the fish, or estimated weight.
d. The location or pool where it was caught
e. If the fish was kept or returned alive to the water
f. For net caught Salmon only, the Marine Scotland tag records
Separate sheets or pages should be kept for catches by rod and line, by net and coble and by bag net, fly net or other stake net.
The records must be made available for inspection to a Water Bailiff, or an authorised representative on the RTC, on demand.
Existing fishing records may be used providing the required information is included. Follow the link for an example of an acceptable form.
Keeping the record and submitting the information
The Order places the requirement to provide the data on the proprietor or occupier of the fishery. If an owner or occupier wishes to authorise another person to maintain the record, the Commission should be informed of the name and address of that person. N.B. the legal requirement for the accuracy of the return remains with the proprietor or occupier of the fishery.
Consolidated returns of data are sought to the end of June and to the end of November, each year. A form suitable for providing that information is sent to fisheries before these times.
A definition of a “caught” fish, whether taken or released, for recording purposes is in the link below.