ASFB | DSFBs | Legislation | Governance

Fisheries enforcement

Bailiff’s powers & training
The District Salmon Fishery Boards have statutory powers to appoint water bailiffs to enforce salmon fisheries legislation in Scotland. Bailiff’s powers are extensive, and include powers of arrest, entry, seizure and search and are similar to the powers of constables.

It is therefore essential that prospective bailiffs fully understand the extent of their powers and the circumstances under which they may be used. For this reason, ASFB and the Institute of Fishery Management (Scottish Branch) have developed and actively promote a training programme designed for bailiffs in Scotland to ensure appropriate accredited training is provided before prospective bailiffs are formally appointed and can operate in the field. The recently updated Bailiff Training Manual can be found here.

Appointment of water bailiffs
To support this, ASFB have agreed a policy with its members to ensure that no bailiff should be appointed without having successfully completed the bailiff training programme. In the few areas where district boards have not been constituted, Scottish Ministers appoint water bailiffs, and the same requirement for training applies in these areas.

DSFBs – National Bailiff Warrant Card Scheme
With the kind support of the Fishmongers Company, ASFB has initiated a national warranting scheme for all DSFBs. Through the acquisition of professional ID card software, ASFB is now producing hard plastic warrant cards which are secure, and certify that the warrant holder is successfully accredited through the IFM Bailiff Training module (a requirement before a person can be warranted as a water bailiff).

This new system aims to ensure that all bailiffs appointed by Boards in Scotland have the same standard of warrant card nationally, and that the cards certify accurately that the holder is certified through the IFM training module. The cards display a secure digital photograph, digital signature and name of the Board on whose authority it is granted.

ASFB will produce cards on demand from any DSFB who wishes to appoint a new bailiff, or replace existing card holders, with the new style card. Any such bailiff must have successfully completed the bailiff training module. Please contact ASFB ( with the following details if you wish to obtain the new card:

  • Name of bailiff
  • Digital photograph of the bailiff
  • Digital signature of the DSFB signing authority (usually the Clerk)
  • Logo for the DSFB

Fishco logo

Bailiffs – protocols for recording information
ASFB and IFM have recently produced a standardised bailiff notebook. Consistent and methodical incident and offence recording is critical to effective law enforcement, and the notebook is the core foundation of any evidence that a bailiff may have to submit in court. The notebook is currently being issued to all Boards and will also be issued to bailiffs operating outwith the Board network. Specific guidance for the use of the notebook has been produced and is available below.

ASFB-IFM Guidance on Use of the Official Bailiff Notebook (pdf)

Poaching & wildlife crime
Fish poaching, (together with deer poaching and hare coursing) have now been formally classified as wildlife crimes since 2009 when the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) identified  7 wildlife crime priorities – one of which is poaching.

ASFB are represented in PAW – a group that brings together the Police, HM Revenue and Customs, representatives of Government departments, and voluntary bodies that have an interest in wildlife and land management. PAW’s main objective is to support the Police Wildlife Crime Officers (PWCOs), and all regional police now have at least one PWCO attached to their force. Another objective of PAW is to draw attention to the growing problem of wildlife crime and to raise awareness of the need for effective law enforcement. For this reason,  ASFB has provided input to PAW’s poaching sub-group, which has produced an action plan to tackle poaching and hare coursing.

Participation in this sub-group has also enabled the ASFB to begin sharing information with wildlife crime intelligence officers, which will ultimately assist in the successful prevention and detection of poaching, as well as prosecutions in the courts. One key action was a leaflet campaign about fish poaching which was launched by the then Minister for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham.

Because of this, fish poaching is now being dealt with at a higher level by Government agencies, including the National Wildlife Crime Unit and regional constabularies. What is encouraging is that this process has been developed not only via Government policy initiatives with formal support from the policing authorities at the highest strategic level,  but also by a growing network of dedicated PWCOs.

At a more local level, one of our priorities is to improve the links between the network of water bailiffs and the PWCOs. Sound relationships have been developed between these groups in recent years, allowing for much improved co-ordination on enforcement activity relating to poaching. Bailiffs and PWCOs have also had close involvement with, and given presentations and guidance to, both the ASFB’s annual bailiff’s conference and the National Wildlife Crime Conference convened at the Police Training College at Tullieallan. This naturally leads to a much greater understanding of the issues involved, and some very worthwhile training on fisheries law enforcement has been provided by our bailiffs to the police.

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