Over the past two years the LLAIA committee has worked with the main riparian owners to end the impasse between the Association and Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust which was seen as detrimental to the health of the Lomond System. This has now been achieved and a completely new LLFT formed under the chairmanship of Mr Charlie Frize. However, if within the following year the relationship between the LLAIA and Trust fails, then a District Salmon Fishery Board will be formed to manage the system.
Setting up and running a fisheries board will involve considerable expense, which will be funded mainly by the LLAIA and a handful of smaller riparian owners. The LLAIA will require ‘by law’ to pay levies based on the fishings we own and lease and also on every salmon and sea trout caught. This will impact on the cost of memberships and permits which would be expected to rise substantially.
We realise that some of our members may not understand the full implications of a DSFB but above all we will lose our voice and independence. Unfortunately a small group still exists who are more interested in settling historic ‘political’ scores than the future of the LLAIA and Lomond system. If we are to continue to exist, as we have for the past 130 years and retain our autonomy, then the past must be left behind.
At the AGM Mr Simon Miller CEO Luss Estates delivered the following speech which was received with hearty applause from the hall. Our riparian owners now wish to share the content with members who were not present at the meeting.
LLAIA AGM Statement from Simon Miller, CEO Luss Estates and Lord Graham, Director, Montrose Estates
‘Both Montrose and Luss Estates have been supporters of the Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association and of the Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust for many years, indeed since their inception.
We have two key beliefs which drive our decision-making in this area: firstly, we wholeheartedly support and wish to perpetuate the fishing of the Loch Lomond system by you, the local fishing enthusiasts, and we do not wish to see fishing become an elite sport here. Secondly, we wish to protect and enhance the sustainability and vitality of the fish population and the wider environmental health of the whole system.
For some time, we have been concerned by the health of the Loch Lomond fishery, and by the fact that the two organisations responsible for the science and management of the fishery were not working in partnership with each other to the benefit of the system.
Over the past year, together with other key riparian owners, we have worked closely with your committee under the leadership of Jim Raeburn and Gareth Bourhill in trying to come up with a plan that allows the LLAIA to continue to thrive well into the future. A key part of this is building a constructive working relationship with the Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust.
The Loch Lomond system and its fishermen must be supported and advised by an independent organisation responsible for science and conservation. We are delighted that the LLFT, under the chairmanship of Charles Frize, and with a new Board in place, is now well positioned to do this. The LLFT’s objective must be to raise significant funds to do improvement work on the Loch Lomond system and to advise all stakeholders on how to best improve the health of the system.
Having investigated the politics and science behind the current situation it is absolutely clear that all of us in this room have only one last chance to make the LLAIA and LLFT relationship work. If we fail to do so, the alternative arrangement for managing our fishery is a District Salmon Fish Board. In this case you, the people who fish the system, would largely lose your voice and your fishing would cost more. We do not see this as being to anyone’s benefit. If you, your Committee, and the Board of the LLFT wish to use this final chance to keep control of the system, there is no choice but to work together and to put all personal issues to one side.
In summary Luss Estates Company and Montrose Estate wholeheartedly support your Committee, wholeheartedly support your Committee’s relationship with the LLFT, wholeheartedly support the LLFT Board of Directors, and urge you to support your committee in working with the LLFT.’
The committee will continue to work with our riparian owners and the LLFT to build stronger relationships and improve the health of our system and fishings.