I'll kick this one off. Apologies my points are all negative - I'll need to convert these to constructive comment by January 4th.
This initiative sets out a vision that is likely to affect all fishers in some way and has some very positive aims and actions, but ;
I went to an open coffee and chat date on Sunday at Peebles Hydro - was the third guest for the day before closing which is a pity.
I made the point that rod fishing has all sorts of spin-off benefits from tourism etc by comparison with netting and is that taken into account in the Economic Issues section. Response was that netting also brings in tourism. Eh ? Or 'fit did ye say' ? I've watched netting but would not vent my wallet at the Ednam House Hotel to watch it, I came away with a macabre feeling on many occasions on the Dee and Kyle nets. Thats not to say it was not a spectacle - I'd like to see Visit Scotland's brochure though. Come to Scotland to see the traditional knackers yards in operation and see the salmon murdered in their hundreds by traditionally well-imbibed local honest John's son. Seriously I'm all on for a tourist attraction netting station or two - say at the museum at Spey Bay - klonk 50% and show 50% released though. And make it one day a week for the whole season.
I agreed that salmon do not care who kills them, then was assured that netting numbers have dwindled and there is no mechanism to buy out heritable netting rights. Told 10% of catch is now netting, well as far as I can see nets account for 30-50% of overall killed salmon over the last five years and roughly equal to the rod released fish number. Very convenient also to separate fixed engine from net and coble figures - makes them look less of a lump.
The netters regard rod and line as also a commercial exploitation of the Salmon. I agree, so where is their contribution to conservation and sustainability ? Why not clonk every second one and put every second one back like the anglers ? Answer is obvious, they'd be out of business.
The nets IMHO just cannot compete or contribute with the rods in regard to justifying a long term conservation/sustainable management of fish stocks. The rods can go to 100% C&R and still maintain millions income to the Scottish economy, that's not to say I agree that should be the law.
"The steering group has failed to reach a consensus on a strategy for net fishing" - P12. A clear indication of the above point.
The remaining netting interest must be improving their man labour / fish ratio given the improved fish stocks and reduced competition of bought out nets. Exploiting the efforts of others IMHO. But the danger is that their commercial viability is increasing the more everyone Else acts.
On the Scotland.gov website the executive summary states Part One sets out a shared vision for freshwater fisheries in Scotland No it does not - if you cannot reach a shared view with the people that kill 30-50% of the predominant game fish (the nets) in the land then thats not a shared view.
Priority Action Item 11 - Freshwater Fisheries Bill Ok so legislation is required. Why not include provision to convert heritable netting rights to lifetime rights or 60 years. After all its been done with life peerage. Provide for compulsory purchase of netting interests by the government when considered necessary for conservation - at least the possibility would be there.
I would so like to see what Orri Vigfusson's view would be of what should be included in this framework.
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