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trout is under the protection of impossible to put a stop to this the law. The close - time for practice in the winter months. salmon applies also to trout. The Even water-bailiffs can do nothing netting close-time must never be to prevent this, as they have no less than 168 days, and neither power of search for trout; and as salmon nor trout can be sold in there is no restriction in the sale Ireland in the close season. The of trout in November, December, close-time for rod-fishing varies in and January, the result naturally the different districts. In the follows that what is taken thus Dublin district it is three months, illegally by the net finds a ready while in other districts the period market. The extent to which is longer. Further, by the Pollen netting is carried on in the Teviot Fishery (Ireland) Act of 1881 a at the present day may be imagspecial close - time for pollen is ined, when I state that the fixed.
Hawick Town Council, as recently But what is the case in Scot- as the 11th of May, resolved to land ? There is no close-time in stake the burgh waters to prevent Scotland for trout or other fresh- such netting. Further, the poachwater fish. They can be, and are, er catches innumerable trout by killed and sold all the year round, means of salmon - roe. In the whether in season or out of season, months of October, November, and thousands of pounds of un- and December they kill in the seasonable fish are sent off during Tweed and its tributaries all the the winter months from the Tweed spawning trout which congregate and other Border streams to glut in thousands at the back of millthe London market. The only dams, or rest at the sides of strong protection that trout receive by streams and pools. On a good the law in Scotland is afforded by fishing day you may see dozens of the Fresh-Water Fishery Acts of men and boys fishing, and catching 1845 and 1860, which are directed fine trout pretty nearly every cast. against netting, double or cross- These so-called anglers never move line fishing, fishing by set lines or more than a few yards down, and otters, burning the water, point- as fast as they pull one trout out ing, striking the fish with any in- another comes in to rest on its strument, or putting into the water way to the spawning - grounds. any substance destructive to the These poachers soon fill their enorfish. Further, section 18 of the mous baskets, made for the purSalmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act pose to hold 2 or 3 stone-weight 1868 makes it illegal to use any or even more. If any one is seen fish-roe for the purpose of fishing, coming along during the operaor to buy or sell or have in pos- tion, a whistle or sign is passed session any salmon - roe. Even along, and the roe, which is generthese enactments, however, unfor-ally carried in the angler's mouth, tunately, are practically a dead is knocked off the hook and a letter, as the poacher, in divers worm put on. It is thus most ways, manages to ply his nefarious difficult to detect
this illegal trade with practically no chance method of capturing the trout; of detection. One of the most and the poacher, as a rule, comes common means of capturing the off scot-free. trout is the use of the net; and, There have been various atas the law now stands, it is almost tempts of late years to improve
VOL. CLXI.-NO. DCCCCLXXX.
this unfortunate state of matters exceeding five pounds for every
such with regard to trout - fishing in offence." Scotland, but up to the present Further, it was provided that this time these efforts have proved
new Act should be read and conunsuccessful. In 1894 Lord Lam- strued along with and as part of ington introduced in the House of the Trout (Scotland) Act, 1845, Lords a Trout Fishing (Scotland) and the Trout (Scotland) Act, Bill. This bill provided that
1860, which have been already re
ferred to. " it shall not be lawful for any person
Unfortunately Lord whatever, at any time after the
Lamington's bill was blocked in
passing of this Act, between the first day the House of Commons, and nothof November in any year and the first ing further came of it. The day of February in the year following, Fishery Board for Scotland, howboth inclusive, to fish for common ever, determined to ascertain the trout (Salmo fario) in any river, water, opinions of all the County Counor loch in Scotland, by net, rod, line, cils in Scotland on the subject or otherwise, or in any way
of a close-time for trout. to take such trout from
They such river, any
were each asked to state if in water, or loch ; or within such dates, both inclusive, to have possession of their opinion a close - time for or expose for sale such trout; and if trout were desirable, and, if so, any person shall so fish for or take during which months such closesuch trout from any river, water, or
time should extend. Herewith loch in Scotland, or shall have possession of such trout, or expose such
are appended the answers to these trout for sale at any time within the questions, which Mr J. B. Balsaid dates, both inclusive, such per- four, the ex-Lord Advocate, kindly sons shall forfeit and pay a sum not gave me liberty to publish :
Approve unanimously, but think it should extend to
1st March. ArgyllArdnamurchan District Approve of proposal.
Committee Cowal do.
Consider any restriction unnecessary in their district. Kintyre do.
Approve; but would prefer 1st November to lst
Ayr District Committee . Approve; should be from 1st October to 1st March. Kilmarnock do.
Approve. North Ayr
Close - time for trout should correspond with salmon
close - time; no difficulty would be experienced in
enforcing it. BerwickCounty clerk .
Believes it would be acceptable and could be enforced. East and West District
do. Committees Bute
Representative Committee think it would be of advan
tage ; public would not object.
County Council think it would be of advantage. Caithness
Resolved by a majority to recommend proposal. Clackmannan
Approve; would meet with general acceptance.
Western District Committee Expedient in interests of trout-fishing. Dumfries
Proposal desirable and would meet with acceptance.
Think time should be 1st October to 1st March for
local bodies-say, County Councils. Elgin
County Clerk says there is an unwritten law among
fishermen to observe close-time for trout during salmon
close-time. County Council thinks there is no necessity for an enact
ment on subject. Forfar
Approve proposal. Haddington
Approve proposal; suggest it should be extended to 1st
No opinion expressed. Kirkcudbright
In favour, but close-time should be from 1st October to
1st February: Linlithgow
Close-time would be very advantageous. Mid-Lothian
Close-time should be from 1st October to 1st March. Nairn
Close-time desirable, and could be enforced without Orkney)
much difficulty. Peebles.
Finance Committee consider close-time from 1st November
to 1st February, or during Tweed close-time, desirable,
and that it would meet with general favour. Perth
Four District Committees and Finance Committee approve
of the bill. One of the District Committees and Finance Committee in favour of 1st October to 1st March. It is believed that close-time would meet with general
Close-time approved; might be even longer. Would meet
with acceptance. Roxburgh
Approve; but think it should extend from 1st November
to Ist March. Selkirk.
County Clerk thinks all public bodies should favour close
time; each County Council should fix close-time for its
own district. Stirling .
Convener of Council is of opinion that the matter is one
on which Council would not care to express an opinion. Sutherland
Close-time proposed would be in interest of trout-fishing.
Close-time considered advisable; not likely to be obZetland
Ljected to. Angling Associations
Out of 44 circulars sent out, replies were received to 25,
all of which, with one exception, were in favour of the bill. Many expressed the opinion that the close-time should be even longer than that proposed in the bill, while some desired the extension to 1st March, but a larger number wished it to begin earlier-say on 1st, 10th, or 15th October. A considerable number of the secretaries made no reply as to whether there would be any difficulty in enforcing the close-time, but, with one exception, those who did send an answer anticipated no difficulty.
Summarising the reports from in favour of a close-time for trout, the County Councils in Scotland, while most of them wish the period it may be said that, with the mentioned in Lord Lamington's single exception of the Islay Board, bill to be still further extended. in which district there is com- This bill, as has been stated above, paratively little trout-fishing, the failed to pass the House of Comwhole of the County Councils have mons. So in 1896 Sir Herbert expressed themselves practically Maxwell brought before the House of Commons a new Trout Fishing Maitland, whose fish-hatcheries at (Close Time) (Scotland) Bill, which Howietoun are known all over has the backing of, among other the world, as there was no exsportsmen, Sir John Kinloch, the ception in favour of such hatchLiberal member for the East Divi- eries made in Lord Lamington's sion of Perthshire. Sir Herbert bill. I have the personal auMaxwell's bill follows closely on thority of Sir James Maitland for the lines of that of Lord Laming the statement that he highly apton, but introduces one very im- proves of the present bill of Sir portant modification. The first Herbert Maxwell
, and that he has clause is, to all intents and pur-signed the petition in its favour. poses, identical with that of the And not only has this bill received bill above quoted, with the excep- the cordial approval of so noted a tion that the period proposed for pisciculturist, it has been welcomed the close - time is considerably with joy by almost every Angling extended. The clause runs as Association throughout Scotland; follows:
and the petition in its favour pre
pared by Mr Gordon Mason, the “It shall not be lawful for any Secretary of the United Edinperson, except as hereinafter specified, burgh Ångling Clubs, contains at any time after the passing of this Act,
over 10,300 signatures. between the fifteenth day of October in any year and the twenty-eighth day of
Further, in the report of the February in the year following, both Royal Commission on Tweed and inclusive, to fish for common trout, ... Solway Fisheries, appointed by or within such dates, both inclusive, Lord Rosebery's Government in to have possession of or expose for 1895, it is unanimously recomsale such trout."
mended, among other things, that Further, a special exception is the general law of Scotland should made in favour of stews and arti- be amended in this respect :ficial hatcheries in the addition
“E. A close-time for trout, of not “ Provided that nothing in this Act less than 150 days, should be introshall render liable to a penalty under duced, to extend from the 1st October its provisions the owner, occupier, or
to the 28th February, both inclusive, lessee of any stew or artificial pond subject to variation by district boards, or other water where trout are kept with the approval of the Secretary for in captivity, or artificially reared and Scotland; and the sale and possession fed, nor any person employed by such of trout during such close-time should owner, occupier, or lessee, nor any
be prohibited. person to whom such trout may be consigned for sale or otherwise by In their report on the evidence the such owner, occupier, or lessee, or by Commissioners state :a person or persons employed by him."
“A close-time for brown trout was
strongly supported by almost all the It may have been remarked that witnesses, as much in the interest of the Convener of the Stirling the salmon as of the trout themselves, County Council stated that the inasmuch as it is said that salmonmatter of close-time was one on
poaching is now often carried on in
the close-season under cover of troutwhich Council would not care to fishing. One witness only, Mr A. L. express an opinion. This course
Brown, who, when M.P. for the was adopted on the recommenda- Hawick Burghs, had introduced, with tion of Sir James Ramsay Gibson others, a bill to confer the right on the public to free fishing for trout it that Mr A. L. Brown and Mr with certain limited exceptions, object- Thomas Shaw are so anxious to ed to any close-time being enforced unless tbat right to free fishing were
acquire this free fishing? Is it first legally established. According
for the benefit of the respectable to the evidence from all parts of the
angler in that Border constituTweed, it appears that the proprietors ency? Not so. I defy Mr A. L. in whom at present the legal right to Brown or Mr Thomas Shaw to trout-fishing is vested are extremely produce a single respectable angler liberal in granting facilities to the from the Hawick Burghs who has public to prosecute trout-fishing to their hearts' content. Under these
expressed himself in favour of such circumstances we are unable to recom
an enactment. I may here quote, mend such an alteration in the law as as of more weight than any words Mr Brown suggests; but, though it is of my own, a memorandum regardsomewhat beyond our province to do so, ing the origin and progress of the we recommend that the general law of Upper Teviotdale Fisheries AssoScotland should be amended so as to ciation, the largest and most imporprovide a close-time for trout, and that
tant association of the kind in the sale and possession of trout should be made illegal during the close-time.”
Scotland, prepared for the Duke
of Buccleuch by the secretary of Mr A. L. Brown, having thus the Association on April 9, 1894. failed to influence the Tweed and These fisheries, it may be mentionSolway Commissioners in favour ed in passing, are connected chiefly of a bill for free fishing, has now with the very constituency which proceeded, in conjunction with had for its representative in Parliabis
in the Border ment Mr A. L. Brown in the past, Burghs, Mr Thomas Shaw, the and possesses Mr Thomas Shaw for ex-Solicitor-General for Scotland, the present. After showing that to concoct & scheme whereby to the Association was formed in defeat Sir Herbert Maxwell's bill 1881, so that “all respectable for a close-time for trout. In anglers could obtain liberty to order to do this effectively, he fish, for the payment of a small has entered into an unholy alli- annual fee, and which Association ance with certain Irish members would have the power to enforce who have blocked the bill. It an annual close-time for trout, and may very reasonably be asked
to protect the waters from unwhat the Irish members have licensed fishers and poachers," the to do with blocking a bill for a report goes on to show what has close-time for trout in Scotland, been done in that direction since especially when, as I have shown the commencement of its operabove, the trout and pollen in Ire. ations. Licences have been grantland have the benefit of a close- ed, the waters have been protected, season,
The reason Mr Brown and the trout-fishing has improved has had the audacity to make enormously. But a still further public in the press : it is that benefit has been conferred upon "the Border Burghs have helped all the decent anglers in the neighthe Irish cause." Thus, for party bourhood through the action of purposes, certain members of the this Association. The memoranIrish
gang are blocking a bill dum thus puts it :about which they, in all probability, know nothing and care "By preventing any one fishing for less! But in whose interests is a livelihood, by prohibiting any angler