News & Announcements

Sunday 11 February 2018

Have your say on haaf netting

Have your say on haaf netting

The race is on to try and save the ancient Solway tradition of haaf netting from extinction.

Supporters have until February 16 to register their feelings about a set of proposals by the Environment Agency designed to safeguard salmon stocks.

The Agency wants to restrict salmon fishing by requiring haaf netters to return their catch to the water.

The fishermen would still be entitled to keep some sea trout.Solway Haaf Netters Society is opposing the ban which it sees as a threat to its existence. Chairman Mark Messenger said: “We are a salmon fishery. Catching a salmon with a haaf net chest deep in the Solway Firth is difficult and dangerous.

“Fishermen will not risk these dangers to catch a salmon and return it. This would put us out of business.”

The Solway stands to lose its 1,000-year-old tradition which has been in operation since about 900AD when Norse Irish first brought it to Cumbria.

Mark, who is landlord of the Highland Laddie Inn at Glasson where fresh Solway fish is served in his restaurant in the summer months, also fears that, without haaf netting, his turnover would be reduced by 60 percent.

To find out more about the Environment Agency proposals and to register your comments, visit decision on the proposals is expected in early March, before the start of the river angling season.

L Laval

Monday 15 May 2017

Haaf Netting - The Fight Goes On


As the haaf-netting season gets underway this month, the Solway fishermen are still fighting to preserve their centuries-old tradition.
Mark Messenger, chairman of the haaf-netters’ association, is continuing to negotiate with the Environment Agency for the right to use nets in the Solway. The two sides have until the end of this year to reach an agreement otherwise the sport will be governed by a national by-law making its future even less certain.
The Environment Agency claim stocks of salmon in the Eden are low, but Mark refutes that. He says the agency is encouraging more people to fish with rods while the haaf-netters are subject to tight restrictions.
This season the haaf-netters are allowed to fish between 10am and 10pm on weekdays only and can keep just 10 salmon per season.
Mark says: Rod fishermen and riperian owners on the Eden are a wealthier, more powerful lobby than us but we will carry on pushing for our rights. We are the only place left in the world where haaf-netting is practised.”