Background Info

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.

*A 2017 report by PACEC for Marine Scotland, An Analysis of the Value of Wild Fisheries in Scotland, concluded that wild fisheries (including netting) generated £135m of annual angler spend, supported 4300 FTE jobs and created £79.9m in GVA for Scotland.

It stated: “The value of wild salmon and fresh water fisheries to Scotland is significant contributing important numbers of jobs and income especially to rural areas and helping to underpin a longstanding ‘way of life’.”

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