This morning Marine Scotland announced their recommended conservation assessments for season 2020. I am pleased to say that the Lomond System has again been graded as Category 2 which allows for limited harvesting of salmon.
A 28 day consultation period now begins during which any objections may be lodged. These assessments are only recommendations and have still to be laid before the Scottish Government. The committee have yet to digest and discuss the documents forwarded by MS outlining their reasoning for this assessment before deciding on a response.
However there is absolutely no doubt that the increase in the submission of catch returns has been a major factor in keeping us out of mandatory catch and release.
Looking at the systems 5 year average returns the River Leven and Loch Lomond should have been graded at Category 1 but the River Endrick SAC has once again influenced the Cat 2 decision. Returns on the Loch and Leven were down last season but the catches of seasons 2016 and 2017 helped to keep the average at a good level. Last season we managed an 89% return rate but had the committee not made the effort to ‘hound’ members we’d be in a sorry state.
Just to clarify…this grading is made on the catch returns submitted for seasons 2014 – 2018. This season’s return will be included in the calculations for the season 2021 grading.
This news came through to me while out on the Loch today but once I’ve had a chance to examine MS’s documents in full I’ll comment further