The start of the angling season on the River Tay is usually a cause for celebration but this year merriment was overshadowed. With the start of the new season came the start of new fishing codes for anglers on the River Tay.

The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, (TDSFB), keen to conserve diminishing stocks of salmon, issued advice asking that all anglers return every salmon they catch back to the river until the end of May 2010.

Amended restrictions will then apply from June suggesting that ‘no more than one clean fish weighing less than 10 pounds should be retained per angler per day’.

Such restrictions continue to be a recommendation rather than a legal requirement but the board hopes it will have a positive effect. Dr David Summers, the director of the TBSFB stated ‘I wouldn’t want to label anyone a criminal for killing a salmon but I hope that with these restrictions we will see a 90% spring return of the salmon’.

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The advice comes following increasing concern for waning fish stocks. The board stated they will ‘do everything possible to protect and enhance stocks’, also a concern for the anglers on the River Dee where the same code has been implemented for some time: The Dee sees 98% of its salmon returned to the water to allow them to continue upstream and spawn.

The TDSFB believes radical conservation measures are a necessity to allow salmon figures in the river to increase. The code also outlines the correct way to remove hooks from the fish, how to handle the fish and how to successfully return the fish to ensure survival.