North-east fishing boards have pulled together to block a major fishing firm from casting its nets into a scenic estuary home to fish populations currently on a knife-edge.
Newburgh’s Ythan Estuary will not be fished this year following negotiations between Montrose-based Scottish Wild Salmon Company – or Usan – and four local fishery boards,
Usan purchased the fishing rights to the waters in 2014 but the Ythan Fishery Board feared dwindling populations of salmon and trout could be at risk.
However, the fishery boards of the Rivers Dee, Ythan, Don and Spey have pulled together to pay a “considerable sum” in compensation to the company.
The amount is said to be in the thousands, though the exact figure has not been made public.
The fishing rights at the Ythan Estuary have not been exercised since 1997.
North-east rivers experienced some of their worst catches in years in 2014.
Ythan District Fishery Board clerk, Mark Andrew, said it was a good example of fishing boards “pooling resources” for the sake of fish populations.
He added: “Usan, appreciating the sensitivities regarding netting in the Ythan, offered to refrain for the whole of the 2015 season if a compensation payment could be agreed.
“Following a successful negotiation we have now paid the company a considerable sum.”
Honourary president of the Aberdeen and District Angling Association, Alastair Hume MBE, said: “For this year at least the threat of renewed netting has been lifted.”
A spokesman from Usan was unavailable for comment last night.
The Scottish Government is expected to introduce new conservation measures for salmon fishing in 2016 and set a quota on the number of salmon that can be fished in Scottish waters.
Secretary of the River Ythan Trust, Alec Paterson said this may prevent Usan casting their nets in the estuary next year too.
He added: “The deal that has been done can only be a one year deal because basically the fisheries can’t afford to give up that amount of money to prevent them from fishing next year.
“It is basically just compensation for them not fishing in 2015. The future remains to be seen because like I say this quota system is due to come in, but we don’t know what this quota might be.”