There is a petition ongoing regarding stocking of salmon rivers in Scotland. The deadline for submissions is 28th January. The reason for this petition is to urge Marine Scotland, a government agency, to undertake a full and formal consultation before announcing their policy – something you would have thought was only common sense?
The background to this petition, brought by the Scottish Gamekeeper Association, is noted below, together with a link to the petition. Whatever your views about stocking salmon rivers, we would urge you to support this petition which would require a properly informed decision to be made bearing in mind all stakeholders.
“The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) Fishing Group believes Marine Scotland, a government agency, should carry out a full and formal stakeholder consultation before announcing a definitive policy on the stocking of Scotland’s salmon rivers.
The pros and cons of stocking salmon rivers are debated. The SGA Fishing Group believes the interests of conservation are critical but that these interests also ought to be balanced against the need to preserve viable wild fisheries in Scotland, with the jobs and economic benefits for local communities which are attached to them.
Scotland boasts salmon rivers and angler experiences which are known the world over, generating £135m per year in angler spend.
The SGA Fishing Group believes that, done properly with agreed protocols, and with local stakeholder knowledge having a role to play alongside the best science, Marine Scotland can arrive at a policy beneficial to both conservation and angling communities.
The concern is that Marine Scotland is to usher in a rushed policy without having undergone a full and comprehensive stakeholder consultation, as would be expected when decisions of magnitude are taken.
To date, Marine Scotland has formed an outline policy position and has then taken the idea out to river board representatives in the expectation of building approval before announcing a decision.
The position remains contentious and the SGA Fishing Group believes – as is the case with all good policy – that all stakeholders should be consulted properly and formally before decisions are taken.
Millions of pounds have been invested in stocking facilities in Scotland. Investors, and those whose work makes these hatcheries operate, must be heard fully, along with the ghillies working in these systems. We therefore believe a full consultation is right and proper.”