The fish counter on the River Tyne has shown that 2000 salmon entered the river during June 2003, as opposed to only 500 for the same month last year.
A deal to buy-out 52 of the remaining 68 drift net fishermen off the north east coast of England came into effect on June 1st 2003. The deal, negotiated by the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (UK), offered the netsmen fair compensation for giving up their licences to drift fish for salmon at sea.
Andrew Whitehead, Director of NASF (UK), who was largely instrumental in bringing about the deal with the netsmen, said: ”It is hard to imagine any reason for this welcome improvement in the Tyne other than the fact that 52 nets in nearby coastal waters are no longer catching salmon and sea trout.”

The total cost of buying out the 52 netsmen is Eu3.34m, of which Eu1.25m is being provided by the Government (Defra), while the remainder is being raised from private funds.
The Salmon & Trout Association has supported NASF (UK) throughout the negotiations, and has been heavily involved behind the scenes with lobbying Defra and the Environment Agency on the need for such a deal.   S&TA
Director, Paul Knight, said: “This is great news from the Tyne, and proves that we were right to concentrate on a buy-out. 

“The netsmen have been fairly compensated, and the socio-economic benefits from these extra fish in the rivers being available to anglers, will help local economies enormously.  We are now looking to The Republic of Ireland to act in similar fashion with their drift net fishery, With many of the salmon intercepted off the Irish coast being destined for English and Welsh rivers.