Friday, January 10, 2014

Salmon Fishing Scotland The Tay in Perthshire, Scotland Salmon Season 2014 to be opened by First Minister.

Salmon Fishing Scotland The Tay in Perthshire, Scotland Salmon Season 2014 to be opened by First Minister.

The Tay in Perthshire, Scotland have made the bold decision to ask First Minister Alex Salmond to open the 2014 season.

This was an article in the Daily Record today written by "Silver Wilkie".

Scotland’s conservation minded anglers have reacted with disbelief at the decision to invite First Minister Alex Salmond to open the River Tay’s salmon fishing season on Wednesday next week.

For years Mr Salmond and his Scottish Ministers have infuriated anglers by encouraging fish farms, many Norwegian owned, to increase productivity in an industry which has severely damaged wild salmon and sea trout stocks with massive sea lice infestations.

Anglers were also incandescent with rage when the Scottish Government gave a £100,000 grant to a netting company and offered to give them an extension to their netting season, a move which prompted the Faroese to threaten to end a voluntary ban on high seas fishing which saved thousands of returning Scottish salmon.

Wild Scottish salmon stocks have been dramatically dwindling year on year and only this week it was revealed that the 2013 run on the Spey was the worst for 60 years.

To conserve salmon anglers are carefully returning huge amounts of fish which they have hooked and landed, so it’s no wonder they are fuming at the decision to ask the First Minister to the high profile Tay opening.

There has been talk of demonstrations and banners on the day. On angling blogs one comment described it as a “slap in the face,” and another commented: “I wouldn’t trust him with my pet goldfish”.

Mr Salmond’s track record on wild salmon welfare was also described as “abysmal”, so was it wise to invite him to open the Tay?

Bill Jack, chairman of the River Tay Salmon Fisheries Board said that when the invitation was first raised his initial reaction was a resounding no.

Then after quiet consideration he decided to adopt a more measured approach and in a one to one over dinner the night before Mr Jack will spell out the facts to the First Minister about commercial netting and the value of salmon angling to the Scottish economy compared to revenue from fish farming, profits from which go abroad.

He said: “I have been getting a lot of flak over the invitation but how many chances do you get to put over various points to the First Minister face to face?”

One of Mr Jack’s main points will be about his home river system, in particular the re-watering of a main Tay tributary, the River Garry, which has literally been turned into a dry gulch by a hydro scheme.

The Board battled for years to successfully persuade Scottish and Southern Energy to allow more water into the river to provide spawning beds capable of getting another 2000 salmon into the Garry.

He added: “The issue has now gone to SEPA for a decision and regrettably it has been dragging its heels for a considerable time. I am going to use the meeting with Mr Salmond to show him the effects of a dried up river on the system and hopefully to get him to jolt SEPA into action.”

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