With the salmon fishing season commencing on all of Grampian’s rivers, a new initiative has been launched to raise awareness of the potential impact of wildlife crime on the region’s waterways.
The initiative will see river crime warning and information boards that have been developed by Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Unit, distributed to nine of the region’s major salmon fishing rivers by water bailiffs.
Force Wildlife Crime officer, PC Gavin Lindsay said: “Grampian’s salmon rivers are a huge asset to the region, contributing millions to the economy and providing important habitat for a variety of wildlife. However river crime – in particular, the poaching of salmon - can have both a serious environmental and economic affect on the river and wider community.
“River crime can take a variety of formats; from individuals poaching salmon using rod and line, to organised groups, who often travel from out with the Grampian area to net the river, resulting in the loss of significant numbers of fish.”
The operation is a joint initiative between Grampian Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit and River Bailiffs to target the criminals exploiting the North East’s rivers.
The operation has been running for seven years in Grampian, with some notable success in the disruption of poaching activity and enforcement of legislation.
PC Lindsay continued: “One key to the success of Operation Salmo is the information sharing between water bailiffs and police however we also need to get the public more involved by reporting any crimes or suspicious activity to the police as soon as possible.
“More and more people are accessing rivers for fishing, water sports and riverside walks yet are often unsure whether to report a suspected crime. These river crime boards will encourage people not only to report, but to provide all the details the police and Water Bailiffs require to carry out their enquiries as efficiently as possible.”
If you suspect a crime has taken place or have any information relating to a river crime, contact the Police as soon as possible on 0845 600 5700.