Under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003, licences can be issued for scientific or fisheries management purposes for methods of fishing for salmon, which includes sea trout, or freshwater fish, which would otherwise be illegal.
For salmon, the relevant enabling sections of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 are Sections 27 and 29, and Sections 48 and 50 of The Scotland Act 1998 (River Tweed) Order 2006. For other freshwater fish the relevant Sections are 28 and 49 of the respective acts.
District Salmon Fishery Boards are able to issue licences for operations taking place within their districts but only in the case of salmon and sea trout. If other freshwater species are likely to be caught, including Brown trout, written permission issued by the Scottish Ministers is required. The only exception to this is within the area covered by the River Tweed Commission which issues licences under specific Tweed legislation within the statutory fishing season.
Anyone wishing to implement fishing operations during weekly or annual close times must apply for a licence to the Scottish Ministers. For other methods (including use of electrofishing, nets and traps) this requirement continues to apply during the period within the annual close time when fishing by rod and line is permitted.
The Freshwater Fish Conservation (Prohibition on Fishing for Eels) (Scotland) Regulations 2008 make it an offence to fish for or take eels of the species Anguilla Anguilla (any method at any time) except under the authority of a licence granted by the Scottish Ministers.
The following are common fishing methods that often require licences:
- Fishing using nets
- Fishing using traps
- Fishing by rod and line during the close time
- Operations which will disturb salmon redds
- Operations using poisons e.g. rotenone, or explosives
Below are links to the application forms and guidance. The applications must be printed off and completed manually before being submitted to Marine Scotland.