The Solway Estuary Haaf-netters

That the Parliament recognises what it sees as the cultural importance of the unique fishing methods on the Solway Estuary; understands that the practice of “haaf-netting” was introduced by Norse-Gael settlers in 900 AD; believes that the net fishers living in the Royal Burgh of Annan have heritable rights that date back centuries, which were confirmed in the Royal Burgh charters of 1538 and 1612; appreciates that these are part of the history of Annan and are celebrated annually as part of the Riding of the Marches; is concerned that proposed regulations to introduce mandatory "catch and release" on all methods of fishing in districts categorised as grade 3 will end all net-fishing on the estuary;

believes that a blanket catch and release policy unfairly disadvantages haaf-netters, whose method, it understands, has a zero-mortality rate compared with the 10% rate for rod-caught fish; acknowledges the importance of conserving wild salmon and the principle that the killing of the species must be licensed, sustainable and not present a threat to vulnerable stocks; notes, however, the view that the ancient practice of haaf-netting must be allowed to continue, and believes that the haaf-netters meet the criteria for heritage status in the same manner as the guga hunters in the Hebrides, who are exempted from the ordinary protection afforded to sea birds under UK and EU law.

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