What the 115 AGM of the LLAIA lacked in time management it certainly made up for in content. This was the second year that we have invited guest speakers to present to our members and it is certain that they made an impact.
First off was Ms Hannele Honkanen, a PhD student of the University of Glasgow who is based at the Scottish Centre for the Environment (SCENE). Han undertook the 2015 smolt tagging experiment on the Lomond system and delivered a presentation on the results that have been captured to date. The importance of this work is such that a separate article has been prepared and has been posted at the end of this report. The figures make grim reading, out of 19 salmon smolts tagged only 1 (one) made it to the open sea. This probably tells us all we need to know about the level of predation in our system, whether it be in-river, in the Loch or in the inner estuary.
A number of sea trout were also tagged and while the data from a number of the monitoring stations has still to be recovered early indications are that the good catches of sea trout on the Leven last October could have been connected with a late run of these fish into the Loch.
As soon as Han has published her PhD thesis we will provide members with an online link to read the report in full. We are also delighted to announce that Han will be undertaking another smolt tagging experiment on the Lomond system this year which will provide us with even more data on these fish. Let us hope that the level of predation is nowhere near as significant as it would appear to have been last year.
Following Han we had an input from 2 further guest speakers Jeff Gibbons from the Scottish Government and Dr Chris Horrell from RAFTS. Both presented on the current situation with regards to the salmon fishing scene in Scotland, considered how this may develop with the advent of Fishery Management Organisations (FMOs) and talked about their own individual areas of expertise. There was no doubt that members had and took the opportunity to question both speakers on the issues that concerned them the most. Questions were asked on several topics including the categorisation of the Lomond system as grade 3, the impact of aquaculture and predation on salmon and sea trout stocks and why this wasn’t considered as part of the WFR and the future development of FMO’s. Both presenters held up to the challenge and while members might not have liked some of the answers they got it was at least an opportunity to put our case and to show how passionately we care for our system.
On to the AGM itself which kicked off an hour late due to the volume of questions put to our last 2 speakers. Three items were put to a vote and were carried as follows:
1. Increase in membership fees from 2017 was passed, however, OAP membership fees would rise at a rate of £10 per annum until the OAP fee was 60% of the full fee as opposed to the current 42%.
2. A new by-law will be introduced from 2017 that limits the number of salmon that can be killed in any given day to 1 (one).
3. A new bylaw will be introduced from 2017 that prohibits the killing of salmon until 1 May, making this in line with the ban on killing sea trout.
Whether votes 2 and 3 will be implemented will of course be dependent on the categorisation of the system.
Finally Eddie Edmonstone was re-elected as vice chairman for a further 3 years.