Jun 27 2012 by Sandy Kilpatrick, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
POACHERS abandoned their haul of fish after being disturbed on the River Nith.
Patrolling water bailiffs discovered hessian sacks full of dead sea trout and one salmon during a routine river check.
The incident took place on the river near Blackwood Estate, Auldgirth.
Jim Henderson, a director of Nith District Salmon Fishery Board, told the Standard: “We were out patrolling to protect the river against poachers.
“These kinds of things aren’t common. They used to be more prevalent in the past but this was a chance encounter.
“It’s depressing to see this happen when you’re working so hard to protect a species which brings a lot of economic value to the area. It’s awful that people can come in and commit a cruel act like this and not care about the impact of their actions.”
The spot by the river south of Drumlanrig is popular among fishermen.
Mr Henderson (pictured) added: “The sea trout are under a great threat. This will be devastating for the river life and particularly damaging to fish stocks.
“Most of the dead fish were female and would be carrying eggs at this time of year.”
But the dead fish will help future river research as part of the Celtic Sea Trout Project which is currently investigating the decline of the species.
Mr Henderson said: “The fish were already dead and it would have been a shame to see them go to waste.
“They will be dissected at Bangor University as part of the project for genetic tests and gut samples.
“They won’t have died in vain.”
Police are investigating the incident which happened last Wednesday morning.
The dead fish were valued at about £400.
Anyone with any information on this crime is asked to contact police on 0845 600 5701 or leave a message on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.