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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 12:36 GMT
Caution over fish catch 'record'
A salmon leaping - generic
More than 16,000 salmon were caught by anglers last year
Fisheries groups have given a cautious welcome to statistics showing a record salmon catch on the River Tweed.

More than 16,000 fish were landed by rods along the river in 2007 - the highest figure since continuous records began in 1952.

River Tweed Commission chairman Andrew Douglas-Home said he did not want to "draw too many conclusions" from the apparently impressive returns.

He stressed that nature was "fickle" and figures could easily fall in 2008.

The River Tweed runs for about 97 miles from Tweedsmuir in the Scottish Borders to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Salmon rod catches along the river have now averaged about 14,500-a-year over the past five years.

I might well be reporting disappointing figures for the 2008 season for no reason that we can now predict or subsequently determine
Andrew Douglas-Home
River Tweed Commission

That compares with a figure of just 9,500-a-year for the previous decade.

However, Mr Douglas-Home said there was still work to be done.

"The word 'record' is for statisticians and other sportsmen, not for river managers, and there is certainly no crowing on the Tweed," he said.

"Angling catches are, of course, a factor of luck, in terms of weather and water conditions, as well as diligence and skill, and we all know that nature is fickle.

"I might well be reporting disappointing figures for the 2008 season for no reason that we can now predict or subsequently determine."

'Voluntary contribution'

Andrew Wallace, managing director of the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland (Rafts), described the results as "encouraging".

He agreed that it was right to sound a note of caution about figures which had been returned in excellent angling conditions.

"This emphasises, for all those involved in Scottish salmon management, the need to follow the Tweed's 'steady as she goes' policy of management," he said.

He added that with 9,000 fish being released by anglers last year it underlined the importance of this "voluntary contribution" to maintaining salmon stocks.

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