Since the very first of the River Tweed Acts in 1807 the fishings on the river Tweed have been managed as a single unit notwithstanding the fact that the river rises in Scotland and reaches the sea in England. This arrangement has continued successfully to the present day with the management powers vested in the River Tweed Commission by virtue of the Scotland Act 1998 (River Tweed) Order 2006.
The UK Government announcement on 10th May changes matters, since for the first time since 1807 from 13th May different rules will apply to fisheries in England as opposed to those is Scotland. The reason for this is that whilst the UK Government have eased the lockdown restrictions in England the position of the Scottish Government is that fishing is not allowed and also that travelling for anything other than work or essential purposes is not allowed.
RTC is in the process of obtaining clarification of its position from the Scottish Government, but understands that the effect of the two Government announcements on 10th May to be as follows:-
- The portion of the River Tweed Salmon Fishery District which lies in Scotland remains closed for fishing.
- With effect from Wednesday 13th May it will be permissible to fish in the portion of the River Tweed Salmon Fishery District which lies in England subject to social distancing measures being observed and the fisheries complying in all respects with the measures required to protect fishers, ghillies and all other persons using the riverbanks.
- Travel in Scotland is still restricted and it is therefore understood that it will not be permissible to travel from Scotland to England to fish.
The decision as to the timing of relaxation of the current restrictions in Scotland remains a matter for the Scottish Government, but in anticipation of this occurring at a future date RTC are in consultation with Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) over the drafting of a protocol which will set down how fishing activity might be safely carried out during the currency of the pandemic. This will be published as soon as possible.