Comforting to see fisheries minister Richard Lochhead up at Portarch Bridge on Deeside today at the opening of the 2009 salmon season acknowledging the huge impact angling has on local economies.  rlochheadsmall“Recent years have been enormously prosperous for salmon catches in Scotland, bringing good news to a number of rural communities in these difficult economic times,” he observed cheerily, despite the Siberian chill on the riverside as well as in the bank accounts.

And what specific Government investment  is this due to, I wonder.  Well Mr Lochhead did admit that that the level of rod and line catches on the “big four” Scottish salmon rivers were “as high as they’ve been in the last 50 years” and much of this was “down to the increasing popularity of ‘catch and release’ fishing as opposed to anglers keeping their spoils.”

So it’s all thanks to you and me, then.  Expect to see more of Mr Lochhead pressing the fishing flesh in the weeks ahead, especially if the Budget sinks for a second time and the prospect of an election looms.