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Volume 82: debated on Monday 8 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how often in recent years his fisheries protection service has had requests from the Northumbrian water authority to assist in the regulation of the north east drift net fishery; and if he will make a statement.

There have been no such requests. In 1984, a Royal Navy vessel that normally undertakes salmon patrols off south-east Scotland was diverted from time to time to patrol the waters off the Northumbrian coast. That will be repeated this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the effect of the north east drift net fishery on the rod and net catches of salmon grilse and sea trout in (a) the rivers Tweed, Forth and Tay and (b) the rivers South Esk, North Esk, Dee, Don, Ugie and Ytham; and how this is affecting the runs and stocks of migratory salmonids in each of these rivers.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland estimates that the reported north-east coast fishery catch for 1983 of 77,277 fish included the following numbers of salmon and grilse returning to rivers in the stated districts:

(a) Tweed, Forth and Tay61,800
(b) South Esk, North Esk, Dee, Don, Ugie and Ythan13,700
If one assumes an average rate of exploitation by all methods of about 25 per cent., the drift net fishery caused reductions in catches in the scottish rivers of 15,500 and 3,400 respectively. A substantial proportion of the balance would have escaped upriver to enhance the spawning stocks. Data for sea trout are not available.