Friday, June 10, 2011

Salmon Fishing Scotland Fishermen Bye Law for Upper Tay.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Fishermen Bye Law for Upper Tay.

Councillors refuse fishermen’s byelaw plea.

This was in todays Perthshire Advertiser Friday Jun 10 2011 by Greg Christison.

COUNCILLORS have refused to intervene in an ongoing dispute over the use of the River Tay by fisherman and rafters.

Perth and Kinross Council’s community safety committee ruled that imposing a byelaw on the Upper Tay would be an inappropriate way to solve the disagreement between Tay District Salmon Fishing Board (TDSFB) and local commercial rafting companies.

Used intensively by both parties, TDSFB claim that the number of rafts on this section of river have left fishermen unable to enjoy their sport.

Acting on behalf of the fishermen, Fish Legal Scotland urged the local authority to introduce the regulation in an attempt to restrict the rafters’ use of the river between Aberfeldy and Grandtully.

But Councillors opted to approve a report which recommends a byelaw is “not an appropriate means of resolving the dispute”.

Committee vice-convener SNP Councillor Elspeth Maclachlan said: “People in rafts are always going to jump or fall into the water.

“As I see it, this dispute isn’t as much about disruption to fishermen when rafters are on the river, it is more about the time they spend on the river.

“Our hope is that they can sort it out themselves. The fact it has come to committee shows that we are taking this seriously.”

The Perth and Kinross Outdoor Access Forum has been involved in mediation between the two parties since October 2005, and although they have been close to agreement at times, the dispute remains unresolved.

To sanction a byelaw, committee members would have to be convinced that the nuisance merits criminal sanctions and the byelaw could be effectively enforced.

A report by Jim Valentine, PKC’s depute environment director, informed councillors there was a lack of evidence to demonstrate the rafting companies had acted irresponsibly and that there were insufficient numbers of staff available to monitor the enforcement of the byelaw.

Tayside Police were unwilling to support the regulation.

Suggesting council officers should contact both parties for further information, Lib Dem Councillor Peter Barrett questioned whether the introduction of a byelaw would benefit the situation.

He said: “It seems fairly clear to me, that even if the council support the byelaw, it won’t bring an overnight resolution to what has been an intractable problem.”

Tory Councillor Barbara Vaughan added: “I have some considerable concerns about this. Ideally, there would be a voluntary agreement between all that use the Tay.

“Rafting does bring in income but we should be mindful that fisherman, who aren’t always as visible as those in their big rafts, bring both income and jobs to the community.

“I would hate to see a byelaw but someone should make it clear that they have to come to an understanding.

“I do think it is time someone takes a stance to say this must be resolved.”

With Councillors agreeing the “most appropriate” solution to the row would be a voluntary agreement, the committee will request to be informed of the progress of the future talks.

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