CRITICAL salmon stocks have meant the Environment Agency taking drastic measures to curb the number of migratory fish being removed from English rivers.

The measures include a complete ban on anglers taking salmon in those rivers considered most at risk.

There are also new restrictions on type of terminal tackle used, and for the first time ever banning all netting of returning salmon in our coastal waters.

The new measures will be in place for ten years, with a review in five years’ time, subject to the outcome of a formal four-week consultation to be announced at the end of February.

EA deputy director of fisheries Kevin Austin said: “We are not suggesting these proposals lightly and have consulted widely. But we need to take action now in order to give as many of the salmon that make it back to our rivers as possible a chance to spawn successfully.”

Angling Trust’s chief executive Mark Lloyd explained: “On most rivers in the country, the EA has accepted the Angling Trust’s argument that it should adopt a voluntary rather than mandatory approach to achieving catch and release targets.

“Closure of unsustainable net fisheries was a key part of the Angling Trust’s Save Our Salmon campaign, launched two years ago.

“We are delighted to have won this important campaign to save more than 20,000 salmon from being killed in nets every year and to have protected many anglers from draconian regulations.

“But we now need to see urgent action to tackle the root causes of declining stocks which are water quality, predation, poor marine survival and degraded habitats,” he added.

Across the border in Wales, anglers have reacted in dismay after the Board of Natural Resources supported its executive’s proposals for imposition of mandatory 100 per cent catch and release for salmon anglers throughout the country.

The decision ignores the 83 per cent of respondents to the public consultation who did not agree with the catch and release proposals.

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