Conservative MSP John Lamont has added his voice to those calling for the River Tweed to be exempt from the proposed reforms of wild fisheries.
The Scottish Government is consulting on changes, including the creation of a network of charitable organisations to manage wild fishing, funded by a national levy. Currently, the Tweed is managed by the self-financing River Tweed Commission (RTC), which is both democratic and accountable and includes representatives from Scottish Borders Council and Northumberland County Council.
Mr Lamont has said the unique nature of the RTC means it should be left out of the new system and that getting rid of it would put at risk the international reputation of the river, which contributes £18 million to the local economy, and supports the equivalent of 480 full-time jobs.
He said: “A number of constituents who are involved in managing or fishing on the Tweed have contacted me about this in recent weeks. The Tweed is already being managed in exactly the type of way the Scottish Government wants other wild fisheries to be managed. It is self financing and sustainable and above all democratic and accountable.
“Unfortunately the Scottish Government is refusing to be flexible by exempting the Tweed from its proposed national system.”
He added that the “Scotland-wide plans have no place on the Tweed,” and fail to take into account the fact that the river forms part of the English border.
“These proposals will risk the future of the Tweed, which contributes millions and employs hundreds of people in the Borders. I urge the Minister to think again and exempt the Tweed from these reforms.”