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Association warns council over conservation breach

16 July 2008

A Scottish council has been warned that it risks breaching European conservation laws if it renews rights to a coastal netting station.

The Salmon and Trout Association (which represents Britain's estimated 100,000 salmon and trout anglers) has notified Dumfries and Galloway Council in the south west of Scotland aboutr the risk. The council, it says, will be breaching EU laws if it grants salmon netting rights to the Annan Burgh Common Good Fund Nets when the current lease expires at the end of next year.

The breach would occur because salmon caught in the nets could be heading for the River Eden, which flows in the Solway Firth. Part of this water is a Special Area of Conservation for salmon.

Paul Knight from the Salmon and Trout Association said the council could only licence netting rights if it was sure that the activity wouldn't have a detrimental effect on a Special Area of Conservation. He added that fish needed to be allowed to return to their natal waters.

A spokesperson for Dumfries and Galloway Council aid the authority would be seeking legal advice.