Rod catches stable
Rod catches 'stable'

A NEW publication summarising the state of Scotland’s salmon fisheries was launched yesterday and followers of the continued revitalisation of many of our river stocks, would do well to get hold of a copy and have a read.

Published for the first time by the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB), their annual review delivers a concise overview of the continuing overall stability of rod catches as well as a number of informative and entertaining short essays by key players in the industry and is to be welcomed.

To mark the launch of the review, the ASFB released preliminary statistics on 2008 catch returns, well in advance of their regular September release. The figures indicate that rod catches are maintaining their 85-90,000 annual average, with the majority of fish being released back to the water.

Conservation – including catch-and-release by anglers – and habitat improvements over the last two decades are credited with much of the success. But Andrew Wallace, the ASFB’s managing director guards against complacency.

Andrew Wallace
Andrew Wallace

“It is vitally important that the great restraint shown by anglers is now reciprocated by further substantial reductions in exploitation by Scotland’s coastal net fisheries,” he says.

The review contains a revealing essay on the recovery of the River Lochy and the direct correlation between fish farm sea lice infestation and the fluctuations in the river’s grilse runs.

But as ever with official reports many of the most interesting facts, or their absence, are buried near the back. The total capital value of Scottish salmon fisheries, according to the review is put at a massive £425m, generating £120m for the local economy each year.

However, the ASFB can only quote a total of 2800 employed full-time in freshwater angling across Scotland. The number directly attributed to salmon angling, despite its enormous capital value, general wealth and undoubted prestige, is not provided.

The full review is available online here.