Friday, February 4, 2011

Salmon Fishing Scotland Protection of Wild Salmon.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Protection of Wild Salmon.
These are three letters that were written recently on the emotive subject of protecting Wild Salmon.
This was a reply to a recent letter in the Dundee Courier by Antony Prior.
Intervention needed to preserve wild salmon.
The letter by Eric McVicar concerning the protection of wild salmon stocks makes very good points.

As a salmon angler for over 30 years, I am finding it increasingly difficult to justify the pursuit, taking into account the threats facing the wild salmon and the topsy-turvy approach towards ensuring its survival.

It is no comfort to be coerced to adopt catch-and-release angling while watching a huge population of seals and piscivorous birds such as goosanders, mergansers and cormorants decimate stocks.

Most anglers will fish happily for the chance of one salmon a day. Each of the thousands of seals inhabiting our estuaries consumes or fatally injures several adult salmon a day, while the fish-eating birds will each consume a dozen or more juvenile fish each day.

A belief that nature will put everything right by reaching a balance between predator and prey is untenable because the ecology and the hierarchy of prey and predation has been altered by human intervention. Whether we like it or not, the responsibility for managing the fate of the wild Scottish salmon is ours.

Considering the diminishing returns of fish and oppressive regulation of salmon angling in the UK, is it any wonder that many are giving up the pursuit, or taking their salmon-angling budget overseas?

If we wish to continue to have viable stocks of wild salmon and sea trout, we need an ecologically-informed programme for supporting them. A scientific approach to predator management and a keener perception of the damage done to stocks by the salmon farming industry would be essential components.

Anthony Prior.
84 Myreside Road,

This was a letter written to the Dundee Courier by Eric McVicar recently.
Cull grey seals to restore nature's balance.
At no time have I ever said that predators will destroy the planet — the only creature capable of doing serious damage to the planet as we know it is the human. What I was highlighting in my letter was man's ability to upset the ecological balance by protecting top-level predators.

The planet existed quite happily for a long time prior to the arrival of homo sapiens and will continue to do so after our demise. By protecting such creatures as grey seals in the North Sea, we are putting stress on other species.

Grey seals evolved to breed on offshore areas free of terrestrial predators. Had they bred on inhabited sites, their young would have, in historic times, have been eaten by bears or wolves — all creatures which we hunted to extinction.

If not killed by these predators, our forebears would have had oil for lamps and a new dress for the wife. So it is clear that the grey seal has no natural place in the ecology of the North Sea.

The seal protection act of 1914 was not based on scientific fact, as some would have us believe. It was based on the misconception that only a few hundred of these predators were left.

Where this figure came from nobody knows. Two of our greatest naturalists, Frank Fraser Darling and J. Morton Boyd, searched in vain for this scientific evidence without success. The result is that the North Sea is home to tens of thousands of a non-indigenous predator, doing incalculable damage.

This is only one example of human interference causing disruption to the natural order.

Grey seals are to the North Sea what hedgehogs are to the Western Isles and should be treated in a similar manner.

Eric McVicar.

Protecting predators will destroy planet.

Ron Greer (January 26) is right in asking his questions about salmon farming. Indeed, no form of aquaculture, other than shellfish, can ever be truly sustainable.

A comparison I have often used to demonstrate the absurdity of those who claim that salmon farming is sustainable is that of the farmer who decides to farm lions as a food source. He feeds them all his cattle and sheep.

Salmon are near the top of the marine food chain and, therefore, in the wild are a relatively rare creature, just as lions need to be vastly outnumbered by grazers such as antelope and zebras.

This planet is heading towards mass starvation and unless we utilise primary food sources in a more responsible manner that starvation will arrive sooner than many people think.

A further point to ponder is the obsession of certain groups of people to protect predators at all costs.

In this country, piscivorous birds and seals are causing damage to both marine and freshwater fish populations due to their blanket protection and the miopic mentality of organisations like the RSPB and seal-loving people like Bill Oddie and Kate Humble.

So before you renew your RSPB membership, or buy that brightly dyed lump of farmed salmon, think, 'Am I helping the future starvation of generations to come?'

Meanwhile, I am going to feed my garden birds before the raptors finish them off!

Eric McVicar.

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