Dateline: Loch Sunart, West Lochaber, Saturday November 15, 2009:

It was an opportunity to see at first hand the dedication and resourcefulness of a Scottish angling pressure group and it was clear from the flotilla of boats assembling in the car park of the campsite at Resipole, on Loch Sunart that both qualities were evident in numbers.

Ian Burrett, Project Director, SSACN
Ian Burrett, SSACN

The launch queue of more than 13 boats took over an hour to disperse before I joined SSACN project director Ian Burrett and his party which included Jane Dodd, SNH’s marine project officer from Oban, marine biology student Helen Earwaker, and Phil Williams, film cameraman, fellow blogger and correspondent for Boat Fishing Monthly.

I get to grips with a Loch Sunart spurdog
I get to grips with a 6lb Loch Sunart spurdog

No record-breaking fish for us and certainly nothing to compete with the sea kayaker who caught, brought to the surface and released a 137lb common skate.  Quite how he managed it defeats me and by the time I got ashore, he had vanished in to the night.

The two-day exercise delivered better results [and weather] during a cold and blustery Saturday and by all accounts a healthy exchange of craik on the Saturday evening.

The combined anglers in lochs Sunart and Etive spent an estimated £20,000 of their own resources in mounting the tagging exercise which is only the first step in the campaign to persuade the Government to create protected ‘nursery’ areas where the depleted stocks can recover.

The SSACN notes with irony that “there is no onus on those who commercially exploit spurdog to prove that they are NOT depleting stocks.”

A further shark tagging marathon is planned for south-west Scotland in June.