Salmon catch

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Further to the correspondence from Mr WW Quarry (Letters, 28 March), this catch-and-release suggestion or policy to supposedly preserve wild salmon is misconceived.

As a lifelong fisherman, if you are lucky enough to hook a salmon on your fly or spinner, you have to “play” it before you can land it to remove the hook and either kill it or return it to the river. But in the course of “playing” it you are tiring it out or in fact half killing it. To return a salmon in such a half-dead state to the river means it will probably die before spawning.

Your article of the same day did not actually mention that salmon, after leaving their native river for the first time, never again feed in fresh water; even though they return to their native river to spawn, even from thousands of miles across the oceans. So to half kill them during this vital part of the breeding cycle causes as much, if not more, damage to wild stocks than fishing for and catching them.

But in rivers where the stocks have become low one policy could be to disallow all fishing for two or three seasons to allow salmon to spawn unhindered. Another policy could be to “sow” eggs (spawn) from farmed fish suitably in a river, though the constitution of wild fish is different to farmed fish and this may prove ineffective in the long run.

John Maclean

Stevenson Road
Haddington, East Lothian