The Faroes Salmon Fishing Vessel Owners' Association has written to Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond to warn him of the consequences of his Government's continuing support for wild salmon netting around Scotland.

In effect, the Faroese are threatening to start netting for salmon again if Scotland does not stop. Why? here is an extract from the letter:

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We are writing to you personally to ensure that you know that we are extremely disappointed that wild salmon netting is still being allowed and indeed encouraged around the coast of Scotland. Let me explain why.

Back in the late eighties the wild salmon population of the North Atlantic was at an all-time low. Most of the ‘salmon nations’ affected recognised the desperate need to protect the dwindling stocks. A co-ordinated programme to reduce commercial wild salmon fishing was put in place – most notably in the feeding grounds around the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.

In April, 1991, my organisation, Laksaskip, the Faroese Salmon Fishing Vessel Owners´ Association led the way by taking a voluntary cut in catches in order to restore wild salmon stocks. Scotland, Norway and Ireland were the principal beneficiaries of our action

Our practical efforts to help rescue the threatened resource soon went much further. With the help of private and governmental funds (mainly from Iceland, France and the USA) Faroese commercial fishermen, eager to help rebuild wild salmon stocks, agreed that they would not harvest any of the wild salmon that feed in our waters. It was not an easy decision. The Faroe Islands have few natural resources other than the sea so our fishermen made great sacrifices in ceasing to fish for salmon.

It is estimated that as a result of our action we have allowed over one million healthy salmon to return to Scotland (and nearly four million salmon to Norway) in the last twenty years. I am sure that you will agree that this should have been a huge boost to the Scottish economy and a great conservation success. We certainly thought that by protecting the fish in our waters we would be greatly increasing the number of salmon that survived to spawn in Scottish rivers and that the stock numbers would be bound to rise.

It was with great dismay, however, that we recently learned that over the same period of 20 years Scottish netsmen have killed 969,234 salmon off the coast of Scotland.

In effect, every fish we saved was killed in Scotland by netsmen. This means that all the efforts of our Faroese longliners have been utterly in vain and a total waste of time, money and effort.

And more besides ................!


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We must hope that the Faroes Salmon Fishing Vessel Owners' Association do not start fishing again so let us all lobby Alex Salmond and send funds into NASF for a buy -out!