New legislation will ban anglers from selling salmon or sea trout caught by rod and line, and all commercially caught fish will have to be tagged by netsmen to make them legally saleable. The new Environment Agency byelaw for England and Wales becomes active on January 31st.

This aligns England and Wales with Scottish law, which banned the sale of rod caught salmon and sea trout in 2007. Carcass tagging of commercially caught fish is a step further than Scottish practice, and mirrors the Irish system.

Paul Knight, Chief Executive of the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA), said; ‘This is great news for salmon conservation and the enforcement of anti-poaching laws. Most anglers act responsibly by keeping the odd fish for the pot – the majority of rod caught salmon are now released alive back into the water – but a minority have always sold their fish for profit and, as a result, have had a significant impact on some local river stocks. It will now be very much harder to so sell fish ‘under the counter’, because hotels, restaurants and fishmongers will be prosecuted if the salmon and sea trout in their possession is not properly tagged.’

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