Thursday, January 10, 2008

Salmon Fishing Scotland 2008.

Salmon Fishing Scotland 2008.
This was the article in the local Courier following the Ghillies Lunch at Dunkeld.
THE TAY District Salmon Fisheries Board wants to see at least 75% of salmon caught in the system by anglers safely returned to allow them to breed, writes angling correspondent Ken Bell.
At the annual ghillies' lunch, held just a week before the start of the season, chairman John Milligan told a large group of the Tay boatmen, "If you don't make sure it happens, nobody else will."
Since the board's catch and release programme started in 1999 the percentage of fish returned to the water has increased from 10% to 46% in 2006 and around 50% last year.
However, the river still lags behind the other main Scottish salmon waters.
Mr Milligan said unless the number returned increases, they could face mandatory catch and release regulation of the kind in force on the North and South Esks.
This year guidelines have been brought in which require anglers to return the first fish they catch each day and keep only one of any other fish caught.
From the start of the season until May 31, and in September and October, worm should not be used as a bait.
In addition during the summer all hen fish should be released and 50% of cock fish, particularly those weighing over 15lb.
Mr Milligan also warned of the dangers of the parasite gyrodactylus salaris (GS), and urged ghillies to ensure anglers who had fished abroad disinfected their equipment before fishing on any Tay beat.
His warnings were underlined by Charles Allan from the Fisheries Research Agency at Aberdeen. He said that judging from the experience of Norwegian fisheries, where the parasite was introduced from the Baltic, it could wipe out 95-98% of the Scottish Atlantic salmon if accidentally introduced here.
Mr Allan, a leading expert on the parasite and its dangers, said a computer programme carried out in England estimated that within a year of one outbreak in the south of England the parasite could affect every river catchment south of the border.
GS can survive for a few days on brown trout, but its main host is salmon-to which it is invariably fatal.
He said the parasites increase at an alarming rate for, within days of being born, a single pregnant female would give birth to an already pregnant young.
The fact that no live fish are imported from Europe or Scandinavia, allied to the fact that salt water kills the parasite, has so far prevented it arriving in British waters.
In Norway more than 40 salmon rivers were affected before GS was identified as the cause of the lack of young salmon migrating to sea. The parasite had infected and killed almost all young salmon in these rivers.
Mr Allan said the Norwegians-whose salmon angling is worth £175 million a year-had taken the drastic step of wiping out all fish in many major rivers, and in others had prevented salmon migrating into large upper sections so the parasites would be eradicated by a lack of suitable hosts.
At present the main effort in Britain is to ensure GS is not accidentally brought into this country on damp angling equipment, canoeing equipment etc.
Mr Allan urged ghillies to take all steps they can to ensure anglers from abroad, or who have fished abroad on holiday disinfect all their equipment before fishing on Scottish water.
Unfortunately, the parasite can also survive on rainbow trout and it is this fish that is most frequently transported around the country to stock put-andtake trout fisheries, posing a major problem should the parasite land in the UK.
Fisheries manager Dr David Summers said they had been very successful in obtaining ova for the board hatchery. With some fish still to strip they had almost three million eggs in the trays, their best season.
Last season had been mixed, with beats from the Islamouth up suffering from the late grilse run and the low autumn water, while those further downstream did better. Stormont AC, for example, had double the catch of 2006.
Although the grilse were in better condition, there had not been so many.
The Faskally fish counter had seen just over 4000 fish go through, down on the previous year's high, and at the Ericht the count had been just over 6000 compared to 11,000 in 2006.

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