River Teign Net Limitation Order and migratory salmonid management options information page

Closed 30 Jun 2021

Opened 21 Jan 2021


Salmon and migratory trout stocks support both a rod-and-line and estuarine seine-net fishery. These fisheries are regulated by a combination of a Net Limitation Order (NLO), byelaws, licence conditions and voluntary measures which have been implemented over a number of years to protect and sustain the stocks on which these fisheries are dependent.

The number of estuary salmonid net fishing licences issued by the us is regulated by the NLO. This Order restricts the public right to net for salmon and migratory trout on the Teign estuary. The current NLO was approved by Defra in December 2015 for a period of 5 years and this now needs to be reviewed and replaced with a new Order.

Figure 1: map of the Teign estuary

The NLO and wider fishery review (attached below) has considered the performance of the salmon and migratory trout stocks over the last 5 year period and considers whether to maintain the existing levels of stock exploitation or implement new measures in order to ensure the level of salmonid stock exploitation remains sustainable.

Since the last NLO, the National Salmon and Sea Trout Protection Byelaws (2018) have come into force in response to the national decline of migratory salmonid stocks. These bylaws have resulted in a moratorium on salmon exploitation in the Teign estuary and a curtailment of the fishing season, until 2028. As a result, the salmonid net fishery now only target sea trout from 15th March to 31st May, which protects 43.5% of the sea trout catch from exploitation, based on historic data (Figure 2).

Figure 2: River Teign monthly sea trout net catch as a proportion of annual total catch (2009 - 2018), red dash line represents the end of the sea trout netting season


Migratory salmonid stock assessment

The River Teign salmon Conservation Limit compliance assessment in 2019 indicates that the River Teign salmon stock is currently “At Risk” and determined to continue to be “At Risk” in 5 years' time. This represents a further deterioration of the salmon stocks since the stock was last formally assessed for the 2015 NLO review. Reflecting the stock status, the National Salmon Management Decision Structure requires the Environment Agency to consider a range of options to urgently reduce exploitation to zero, to enable the salmon stock to recover.

Figure 3: River Teign Conservation Limit Compliance 2019

Analysis of the adult and juvenile salmon population stock assessment data indicates that the salmon population is in decline, with a general decline in catch per unit effort in the rod fishery since 2012. Whilst 2019 salmon juvenile data shows a relative increase in fry abundance compared to previous years, indicating good spawning success in 2018, salmon parr abundance has seen a marked decline both spatially and temporally when compared with previous survey years. Parr abundance is critical to smolt output and thus the returning adult stock component in future years. This data supports the findings of the conservation limit compliance assessment and infers that salmon populations on the River Teign are in decline and in urgent need of additional protection.

By contrast, analysis of the sea trout data indicates that the current level of exploitation is sustainable. Catch Per Unit Effort for both the rod and net fishery have become fairly consistent and generally higher than prior to 2010, and the sea trout stock assessment has demonstrated that the stock is currently considered to be “Probably Not At Risk”. The 2019 juvenile trout data shows excellent recruitment of trout fry with 96% of sites falling within the top three tiers of the national Fisheries Classification System. Trout parr recruitment also remains high with 83% of sites falling within the top three tiers of classification. This indicates that trout smolt output, resulting in future adult sea trout returns, are likely to be high in future years.


Prefered Option

In undertaking this review, rod and net fishery interests have been consulted and, following feedback, four options were considered for managing the migratory salmonid fisheries on the River Teign. Following an appraisal of these options, the Environment Agency recommends the implementation of the following option:

Maintain the existing NLO of three net licences. Consider voluntary and/or mandatory measures for the rod fishery to further reduce salmon exploitation to zero.

This Net Limitation Order will be in place for a period of 5 years.

Owing to the declines observed in salmon abundance on other South West salmon rivers, which have also recently been classified as “At Risk”, it is considered to be more efficient and pragmatic for us to implement these necessary  rod fishery measures separately at either a regional or national level. Options for progressing this are actively being discussed at a national level within the Environment Agency and any new byelaw proposal will be subject to a further consultation exercise.


Formal consultation on the proposed Net Limitation Order

A formal consultation of the proposed new Net Limitation Order will be conducted separately from this consultation, please see the attached advert for more details.

Any objection to the confirmation of the Order should be made not later than 18 February 2021 in writing and addressed to:

Migratory & Freshwater Fisheries (Salmon Byelaws), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Area 8A/B, Millbank, c/o Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

or sent by email to: freshwater.fish@defra.gov.uk

A copy of any such objection should also be sent to: Area Fisheries Team, Environment Agency, Manley House, Kestrel Way, Exeter, Devon, EX2 7LQ. Email: DCISEnquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

Supporting documents

The Net Limitation Order formal advert and supporting ‘River Teign migratory salmonid stock assessment and fisheries management options review’ documents are attached to provide a more in depth analysis of the data and options that have been considered.


  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Fishing clubs and representative associations
  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Net fishing license holders
  • River based salmon angling owners/fishing clubs/organisations
  • Individual migratory salmonid licence holders
  • Business that buy salmon/supported by salmon net and rod fishing
  • Angling trade contacts
  • National based fishery, conservation and landowner organisations
  • Government family organisations


  • Fishing and boating