Our readers may or may not be aware that there is currently a long running court case involving the routine flouting of the weekly close time (‘the slap’) by commercial netting interests.The court case is still ongoing so I will not comment on the specifics but essentially it is argued that health and safety considerations mean that it is often impossible to lift the leader nets at the correct time to ensure that the nets are not fishing over the weekend. I have heard rumours that some interests are looking to change the law so that they can fish seven days a week so as not to put their crews at risk. It is essential that safety is, at all times, of paramount importance. If health and safety considerations mean that lifting leaders on a Friday afternoon is suddenly too dangerous an undertaking then it should not be out-with the wit of man to come up with a safe solution to the problem that carries no more risk than lifting and killing and fish. Perhaps a panel dropped over the entrance, a panel lifted from the net or similar. As nets-man are demonstrably able to carry out the lifting and killing of fish Mon to Fri on most days of the netting season then there should be absolutely no excuse for fishing during the close time if an alternative solution can be found. To suggest changing the law is, in the view of this correspondent, absolutely scandalous.
Furthermore on the subject of salmon many readers will be fully aware of the ongoing consultation into the killing of wild fish. The deadline for responses is drawing ever closer and we would urge you to get involved and submit your thoughts. When doing so it is important to remember that Scotland does not control the feeding grounds of the Atlantic Salmon. If the Faroese and Greenlanders were to resume netting on a commercial basis then there is every possibility that the effect would be the same as turning the light off and quietly shutting the door.