22 June 2016
R (Nigel Mott) v Environment Agency  EWHC 314 (Admin) Read Judgment
An interesting Court of Appeal decision concerning the science of migratory salmon, and the circumstances in which compensation will be granted when an interference with Article 1 Protocol 1 is found.
For over forty years, Mr Nigel Mott has fished for salmon at Lydney on the River Severn with putcher ranks: rigs of conical baskets which trap adult salmon as they swim upstream in order to spawn.
Putchers had long enjoyed a privileged status as against other means of fishing. Owing to their designation as a “historic installation”, they were spared the controls and conditions which applied to rods and nets, and which have increasingly regulated fishing activity since the first Salmon Fisheries Acts in 1861.
Freedom to fish without restriction allowed Mr Mott to make his living from this ancient method: at £100 per salmon, his annual catch of 600 fish brought him a gross turnover of £60,000.
In 2011, new statutory powers enabled the Environment Agency (“the Agency”) to impose catch conditions on fishing licences granted in respect of historic installations “where it considers that it is necessary to do so for the protection of any fishery”.