Saturday, June 4, 2011

Salmon Fishing Scotland Fishermen request Bye Law for Upper Tay.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Fishermen request Bye Law for Upper Tay.

Fishermen request Byelaw for use of Upper Tay by rafters.

A request to introduce a byelaw restricting the use of the Upper Tay by rafters will be considered by the Community Safety Committee on Wednesday 8 June.

The request has been made by Tay District Salmon Fishing Board, which claims that rafters are not exercising their access rights to the river between Grandtully and Aberfeldy responsibly.

The request follows a dispute dating back to 2005 between riparian owners with commercial fishing interests along the Upper Tay and commercial rafting companies. This section of the river is used intensively for both fishing and rafting, and fishing interests are claiming that the number of rafts going down river makes it impossible for fishermen to enjoy their sport.

They want to see days set aside each week for exclusive use of the river by fishermen.

The Perth & 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.

A paper to the Community Safety Committee recommends that the introduction of a byelaw is not an appropriate means of resolving the issue.

Committee Vice Convener, Councillor Elspeth Maclachlan, explained: "For a byelaw to be considered the Council would have to be convinced that the nuisance merits criminal sanctions, and that the byelaw could be effectively enforced.

"We have received no evidence to demonstrate that rafting companies have acted irresponsibly, or that commercial fishing interests have suffered economically as a result of rafting.

"In addition to this, it is difficult to see how such a byelaw could be enforced. The Council does not have the staffing resources to enforce it, and Tayside Police have indicated that they can not justify agreeing to the introduction of a byelaw. Without an enforcement agency it's unlikely that a byelaw would be confirmed by Scottish Ministers.

"Overall, we do not think the introduction of a byelaw in this case is appropriate or practical. The most appropriate way of resolving this dispute is through voluntary agreement between the parties, and work should continue towards reaching that goal."

This is a very thorny subject but it has to be dealt with fairly. Your comments on this would be useful. I personally think the Councillor has got it wrong with her highlighted statement regarding no evidence on the effect of rafting on fishing on the upper Tay. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know the the activities up on the upper Tay have virtually wiped out any catch returns of salmon and made the beats worthless. Unfortunately it is naive to think voluntary agreements will work when they have not up until now. A similar situation occurs on the lower Tay during the prime salmon fishing season when low water prevails. We are not talking about penny numbers on the Tay as it is so accessible, that is why rules will have to be made so everyone can benefit. At the moment the scales are firmly tilted in favour of the access takers and this has to be redressed.

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