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Fishing Rights

You should note that:

  • Fishing rights are private. It is not the fish but the right to fish for them that is owned
  • Salmon fishing rights are heritable titles, which may be held with or separate from the land, and carry with them the subsidiary right to fish for trout and other freshwater fish. This right must not be exercised in a way that will interfere with the rights of the riparian owner. Where the right is held separate from the land, the proprietor of the right has an implied right of access for the purpose of exercising his right to fish for salmon
  • The rights to freshwater fish belong to the owner of the land that is adjacent to the water, unless held separately from the land. An exception is public waters. A public river is both tidal and navigable, and the right extends as far up river as ordinary spring tides (as marked on an Ordnance Survey map).

It is a criminal offence to fish for salmon without the legal right or without written permission from the owner of the right. In the case of fishing for trout and other freshwater fish, fishing without permission is a civil rather than a criminal offence. However, unauthorised fishing can be made the subject of criminal proceedings under the Theft Act 1607, where any person removing fish from a stank - any artificial pond or reservoir which has been stocked and has neither inlet nor outlet - without authority is guilty of theft.

In the waters that flow into the Solway, except for the River Annan, the provisions of section 9 of the Solway Act 1804 make it an offence to fish for any fish without the permission of the landowner or occupier.