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Anti-poaching patrols on Highland rivers

Published 5th June 2020

Wildlife crime officers in the Highlands have been carrying out joint patrols with water bailiffs to deter poaching and other offences on the region's river systems.

The salmon season is now well under way and officers are building on work carried out last year to maintain a targeted approach to discourage individuals from poaching for salmon, trout and other freshwater fish or hunting for protected freshwater pearl mussels.

Like many other river systems in Scotland, the local rivers are seeing a long-term decline in its salmon populations. In recent weeks incidents have been reported on areas covered by the River Ness and Cromarty Firth district fishery boards. 

Wildlife crime officer Constable Daniel Sutherland said:

"Recently there has been a number of incidents and reports of individuals fishing for salmon and sea trout within the Inverness and wider area across several different rivers. 

"Poaching is a wildlife crime priority for Police Scotland and joint patrols with salmon fishery board water bailiffs and our officers across the division will continue throughout the year to detect and deter illegal fishing."

Already this year nine men - aged between 23 and 60 - have been charged in connection with fishing offences and reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. A number of warning have also been issued.

Regular and random patrols will continue throughout the year to assist in this wildlife crime priority, working closely with local fishery boards officers and bailiffs, who will be targeting hotspots where offenders will be dealt with appropriately.

PC Sutherland added:

"It is disappointing that individuals continue to fish by illegal methods, however wildlife crime officers will continue to maintain a targeted approach to discourage poaching for salmon, sea trout and other freshwater fish or hunting for freshwater pearl mussels.’

Chris Conroy, River Director for the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board said:

"Our water bailiffs continue to work in close partnership with Police Scotland wildlife crime officers. 

"The purpose of these patrols is to deter illegal fishing activity across the rivers, lochs and coastline of the Ness salmon district. No fishing should take place without the appropriate legal right or written permission, or during the weekly close time in the case of salmon and sea trout fishing".

Edward Rush, Cromarty Firth Fishery Board Officer said:

"We have been dealing with an increasing number of reported incidents of illegal fishing in recent weeks where both groups and individuals have been targeting salmon and sea trout. 

"To combat this, we have been assisted by officers from Police Scotland in dealing with the issue and we are grateful for their ongoing support in tackling this form of wildlife crime"


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