The Environment Agency have records of 198 fisheries (instruments or groups of instrument) holding certificates of privilege. Of these only seven across England and Wales are recorded as having recently (in the past 10 years) operated or as being now operable.
Privileged fixed-engine certificates are known to exist for instruments on 13 rivers in which the salmon stock did not meet its conservation limit in 2006. The six privileged fixed-engine fisheries that have operated recently and remain operable are all on rivers in which the salmon stock exceeded the conservation limit in 2006. Three of these fisheries are on the Severn. There is evidence that these fisheries also exploit salmon returning to the River Wye where the salmon stock has failed to meet the conservation limit.
The Government recognise the potential deleterious effect that unrestricted fisheries operating under certificate of privilege can have on fish stocks and fisheries in rivers not meeting their conservation limits. For that reason, we are proposing to introduce new legislation that will enable the Environment Agency, as fisheries managers, to control the effectiveness of these instruments in order to limit the number of salmon which they can take; where the agency considers it necessary to do so for the protection of fisheries.
More detail of these provisions and the proposed wider changes to legislation managing migratory and freshwater fisheries will be published in the draft Marine Bill in spring.
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many salmon netting stations operating under certificates of privilege in rivers not meeting their conservation limits have changed their method of operating from that identified at the time of the granting of the certificates. [HL2445]
The River Severn salmon stock exceeds the conservation limit but there is evidence that fishery stations operating here also exploit salmon returning to the River Wye, the stock of which does not meet the conservation limit.
At least one fishing station (putcher rank) operating there now uses steel baskets instead of the traditional willow and square cross-section basket openings.
There are no records of any other changes in method amongst those instruments now or recently operating.