Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Salmon Fishing Scotland Salmon fishing beat owners plan to go to court over Rafting on river Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Salmon fishing beat owners plan to go to court over Rafting on river Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.

This is an article in the Herald in Scotland by Brian Donnelly today.
It is viewed by anglers as a key Scottish salmon location, while to rafters it is the ideal place for white-water thrills.

But now fishing beat owners are planning to take court action after a clash between the two groups on the River Tay.

Several owners have joined forces after claiming years of negotiations have failed to find a solution to disagreements between anglers and rafters over access to the Upper Tay between Grandtully and Aberfeldy.

It is claimed the increase in white-water rafting is putting anglers off from venturing to the river.

The beat owners said many people no longer want to fish the waters because of “excessive disturbance and noise from boating activity”. This, in turn, is affecting fishing businesses in the area.

They added that since Land Reform legislation was introduced in 2003, rafting activity has increased dramatically – although this is contested by rafters who said the sport had already been growing in popularity before then.

A local access forum has recommended certain days be set aside each week for rafting and it is understood fishing beat owners are backing moves to formally allocate three days for rafting in a joint writ that is expected to be served on Perth and Kinross Council.

Rafters have said, however, that “genuine voluntary restrictions” have been put in place by commercial companies. One rafting source said: “In Scotland you can use any water at any time. As long as you are being responsible then you should have the right to use the river.”

But Angus Crow, chairman of the Lower Grandtully Timeshares, claimed: “It is so sad that it has had to come to this.

“We have a shared interest in the river and have been working through the accepted channels allowed for within the access legislation, to hopefully reach an agreement which allows both the rafting and fishing business to flourish.

“As it is, the present system is unworkable and while the rafting businesses expand and improve in profitability, the fishing interests are on their knees. Most of the fishing beats in this area are seldom fished now.

“Tenants come once and never return and one of Scotland’s heritage assets is being decimated.

“We are frustrated that, while we are prepared to accept, albeit reluctantly, the recommendations of the Local Access Forum, the rafting companies are not. Without going to court we are powerless to defend our property assets and hard-won business.”
Tay District Salmon Fishing Board pressed the council for a bylaw to be introduced earlier this year, amid claims that rafters were not exercising their access rights responsibly.

But the council said at the time that “for a bylaw to be considered the council would have to be convinced the nuisance merits criminal sanctions, and that the bylaw could be effectively enforced”.

Now the legal writ calling for rafting days to be restricted is being served on Perth and Kinross Council.

A spokesman for local authority said last night: “The council has received nothing of this nature to date.”

Nature-based tourism is worth at least £1.4 billion a year to the Scottish economy and supports the equivalent of 39,000 full-time jobs.

A study last year found the wider range of adventure activities – that also includes mountain-biking, rafting and kayaking – are worth about £178 million.

A study from 2004 stated that fresh water angling was worth about £113m to the Scottish economy.

That total is expected to be far higher now.

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