Prime Tweed autumn salmon fishings under the hammer

Opportunities to acquire some of Britain’s most sought-after autumn salmon fishing are detailed in the 2014 Annual Auction in aid of the Tweed Foundation, which aims to protect and enhance fish populations in the Tweed system. 37 lots covering 29 beats are on offer including prime fishings between late August and November on many of the Tweed’s most illustrious beats. Reserves range from £1500 down to £120.

Full details of the auction are available at www.tweedfoundation.org.uk Alternatively contact Fay Hieatt on 01896 848271 for a copy of the catalogue which includes recent average catches for the featured beats. The deadline for both email and postal bids is 5 pm on Thursday 26th June with the auction taking place the following day.

Nick Yonge, Director of the Tweed Foundation, said: “Our Annual Auction is unique amongst auctions of fishings in that it features many of the river’s leading and lesser known beats during the most productive time of the season – the prolific autumn runs. Many of these beats are rarely available otherwise during this period. The auction’s proceeds provide vital support for the conservation work of the Foundation which helps to ensure the future of the Tweed’s fish populations. We are immensely grateful for the generosity of Tweed proprietors as well as all those bidders who ensure our auction’s continuing success”.

2014 Auction Leaflet

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20 rivers in Scotland polluted by toxic ‘gender-bender’ chemicals

Leaping Salmon 2Twenty rivers across Scotland are contaminated with toxic “gender-bender” chemicals contained in cleaning agents, cosmetics, plastics and pesticides, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

Monitoring by the government watchdog has found traces of nonylphenols – chemicals known to disrupt hormones and cause sex change – in the Clyde, the Kelvin, the Water of Leith, the Tay, the Ness, the Don and 14 other rivers.

Read More:
Sunday Herald

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Police in Inverness and water bailiffs work in partnership to tackle poaching

River Ness newsLeading on from the recent water bailiff training day, a Police Scotland wildlife crime officer joined water bailiffs from the Ness District Salmon Board on a boat- based patrol of Loch Ness on Saturday (May 3).

The boat used was a licensed rigid hulled inflatable boat operated by the Spey District Salmon Board whose co-operation in making the boat available with a qualified skipper/water bailiff was greatly appreciated.

The purpose of the patrol was to engage with members of the community who were fishing from boats or from the shores to ensure their compliance with the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation ) Scotland Act 2003. Eight boats were stopped on the loch and eight anglers on the shores of the loch were also spoken to. It was pleasing to note the relatively high level of compliance however several anglers were offered educational words of advice and one person will be reported for a poaching offence.

Read More:
Ness DSFB Website

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Wester Ross Area Salmon Fishery Board Annual Public Meeting

Loch Maree (news)The Wester Ross Area Salmon Fishery Board will hold its Annual Public Meeting at 1500hrs on Wednesday 28th May 2014 at the Harbour Centre in Gairloch (IV21 2BQ).

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting during which there will be an opportunity for members of the public to speak from the floor. For further information, please contact: Peter Jarosz 01445 712 899     07740 677 406    admin@wrasfb.org.uk.

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Provisional Scottish salmon and sea trout fishery statistics for the 2013 season

Leaping Salmon 2Marine Scotland Science have published the provisional Scottish salmon and sea trout fishery statistics for the 2013 season. This information may be accessed from the Scottish Government website.

Topic sheets may be downloaded from this page which provide summaries of the fishery statistics for both salmon and sea trout together with a commentary placing the data in the context of the time series of information which has been collected since 1952. A further topic sheet describes how the annual survey of salmon and sea trout fisheries is carried out and summarises the available data. In addition, provisional reported fishery statistics for the 2012 season may be downloaded for all 109 Scottish fishery districts.

The main Scottish Salmon and Sea Trout Fishery Statistics web page may be accessed here.

Current Status of Scottish Salmon and Sea Trout stocks

Marine Scotland Science has produced a report summarising the status of Scottish salmon and sea trout stocks based on provisional reported rod catch data together with information from fish counters and fixed traps. The report will be updated annually, in April. The latest publication, Marine Scotland Science Report 03/14 “Status of Scottish Salmon and Sea Trout Stocks 2013”, may be downloaded here.

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Regional Water Bailiff Training Day

River Ness newsThis week the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, in collaboration with Police Scotland, hosted a Regional Water Bailiff Training Day at Ness-Side Estate. This was attended by a total of thirteen Water Bailiffs from the Rivers Alness, Conon, Beauly, Ness, Nairn, Findhorn and Lossie.

Inverness Wildlife Crime Officer P.C. Cailean Macleod and his colleague P.C. Davy Elliot led proceedings. They gave in-depth classroom and practical sessions relating to communication, procedures, conflict management, fisheries legislation, productions and statements. This included realistic scenarios on the banks of the River Ness.

Read More:
Ness DSFB Website

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Fisheries Trusts’ report concludes that the use of hatcheries on salmon rivers is generally futile and may actually damage salmon populations

StockingA new review by the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) of the practice of artificial stocking of salmon rivers has concluded emphatically that there should be “a general presumption against stocking of salmon” as the practice is an inefficient method of boosting catches. A comprehensive body of scientific evidence, both national and international, was examined, leading to the consensus view that “enhancement stocking is largely ineffective and potentially harmful”.

The RAFTS Stocking Policy is being launched today (20 March) at the Annual RAFTS/ASFB Conference at Battleby by Perth.

Brian Davidson, RAFTS Operations Director and Convenor of the RAFTS Salmon Stocking sub group, said: “Since the 19th century salmon stocking has been routinely carried out in the belief that it improves fish numbers. Only recently, in the last two decades, has the practice been subjected to proper scrutiny. The evidence is now overwhelming that in most circumstances, far from being a panacea, salmon stocking makes no discernible difference to salmon numbers and often may actually be detrimental”.

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The contribution of Fishery Boards and Fishery Trusts to Scotland

Leaping Salmon 3The important contribution and role of Fishery Boards and Fishery Trusts in the management of Scotland’s rivers and freshwater fisheries is highlighted in the annual factsheet published today by the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS).

Dr Alan Wells, Policy and Planning Director of ASFB, said: “Our factsheet underlines the vital contribution that District Salmon Fishery Boards and Fishery Trusts make in managing our rivers and lochs. Not only do Boards manage virtually all of Scotland’s salmon and sea trout fisheries, they do so at no cost to the public purse – Boards are principally financed by fishery owners to the tune of £4.32m. The promotion of catch and release over recent years has been a major success. Such initiatives, which are largely voluntary and operate at the individual catchment scale, have ensured that the number of fish killed within rivers has been dramatically reduced – 74% of salmon (91% of spring salmon) and 71% of sea trout caught by anglers are now returned to the water. This conservation action has been a significant factor in stabilising salmon and sea trout populations in much of Scotland.”

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How Fish Counters Are Used on Tweed

Leaping Salmon 2The Tweed Foundation has produced a new film on YouTube explaining how it uses its fish counters on the River. James Hunt, The Foundation’s assistant biologist, uses the film to explain how the information obtained from the counts are related to spawning and egg deposition in the Tweed catchment.

This, and other films produced by The Foundation, can be viewed on YouTube

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Annual Water Bailiff Conference underlines the importance of partnership between fishery bailiffs and Police Scotland in tackling wildlife crime

Tyne sea trout in barrowThe importance of close co-operation between salmon fishery bailiffs and the police – in combating wildlife crime in Scotland – was highlighted at this week’s Annual Bailiff Conference. The event was convened jointly by the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) at Ayrshire’s Fenwick Hotel. 80 fishery bailiffs from across Scotland attended as well as Police Scotland wildlife crime officers and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

Sergeant Andy Mavin, Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator for Police Scotland, commented: “Poaching is very much a UK wildlife crime priority and partnership working is critical to addressing this. It is a damaging illegal activity carried out not only by individuals but also by commercial criminal gangs. It can have a serious environmental and economic impact on rivers and the wider community. Police Scotland works closely with bailiffs across the country and the professional training for bailiffs being delivered by ASFB and IFM makes an important contribution to the quality of cases reported and thus the resulting convictions. As members of PAW Scotland we are committed to working together to tackle this sector of crime.”

Brian Davidson, Operations Director of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards and Secretary of the IFM Scottish Branch, said: “Our Annual Conference is a significant opportunity for our highly professional water bailiffs from across Scotland to share good practice and learn more about the specific enforcement pressures in different parts of Scotland. ASFB and IFM have pioneered accredited training for Bailiffs and to date 370 individuals have now passed the examination.”

Jim Cleland, Head Bailiff for the River Ayr District Salmon Fishery Board (Ayr DSFB), commented: “It is perhaps fitting that Ayrshire was the venue for this year’s Conference. Regrettably Ayrshire is still one of the worst blackspots in Scotland for the poaching of salmon and other fish – a serious wildlife crime. We remain absolutely determined to thwart this problem and this week we have been able to outline some of the significant pressures we face locally. Working in partnership with Police Scotland and the other DSFBs in the south-west, we have concentrated on pooling resources and ensuring that all our bailiffs, including volunteers, are trained to a professional standard. In the last year alone the Ayr DSFB achieved nine successful convictions for taking salmon illegally.”

The Conference included field visits to local poaching hotspots including the Catrine Dam. Mr Cleland added: “The Catrine Dam has been a problem area for many years. However, we are hopeful that alterations to the fish pass as part of a local hydro scheme will help fish to pass through the area safely. This area will continue to be a key focus of bailiff and police activity”.

The Bailiff Conference also saw the award of the Roger Barnes Memorial Trophy to Jim Raeburn of the Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association – the candidate who had achieved the highest mark in the 2013 Bailiff Exam.

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