On 7 December a meeting was held between representatives of the LLAIA and LLFT and from national fishery and scientific bodies. The meeting was candid and allowed all parties to express their views on current proposals relating to the conservation of salmon and future fishery management structures.
While there was no definitive news on the implementation or otherwise of proposed conservation measures on Friday your committee were informed that the Wild Fishery Review team were keen to make an announcement on this matter before Christmas and if possible by the end of this week.
Last week local Borders media carried a story that the government has had a change of heart and agreed to retain the current management structures on the Tweed. There is no doubt that there seems to be momentum building for a review of the proposals as they currently stand with a strong argument being put forward to postpone any changes for at least a year to allow further evidence to be gathered. This is strongly welcomed by both the LLAIA and the LLFT. However, members should be in no doubt that there are no guarantees on this issue and we shall, like several other systems that fought hard to retain their angling heritage over the last few months, have to await the outcome.
With regards to future fishery management structures (FMO’s) members should note that it will be mid 2017 at the earliest before the requisite legislative arrangements will be in place to bring these new bodies into being. The committee have already began to consider how best to respond to this issue mindful of the almost unanimous view of our members this spring who expressed a clear preference for the formation of a standalone Lomond FMO.
In order to provide you with the most up to date information available on this matter it is hoped that a representative from government will be in a position to attend our AGM in February in order to provide an account of where we are in this area as well as answer any questions members may have.
There is no doubt that the conservation proposals and the proposed introduction of new management structures have the potential to radically alter game fishing not just in the Lomond system but throughout Scotland. We would therefore ask members to make sure they keep their diaries free and attend our AGM on Saturday 6 February in order to voice their opinions on these matters. Too often AGM’s are poorly attended but given the level of change that is coming our way we would urge as many members to attend as possible so that we can have a real steer on your preferred future direction of travel on these matters.
Finally the committee would like to formally thank all those members who have taken the time to write, phone and email us offering their best wishes and thanks for the work we have been doing in fighting the proposed changes to date. This is genuinely appreciated and only strengthens our resolve to do what is right for our system no matter what the challenges we face.