IT IS heartening today to see two organisations calling for our politicians to stand up and be counted – at least as far as supporting the future of our wild fish are concerned.

As I suggested here at the beginning of the year, that action to put our politicians on the spot on the future of angling, whether for sea, game or coarse fish, is long overdue.

Many threats to wild fish are man-made

The ASFB  (Association of Salmon Fishery Boards) and RAFTS (Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland) have clearly been listening and while not going so far as to call for sponsorship of Holyrood or Westminster MPs, they have seized the chance to capitalise on next month’s Scottish elections.

The two organisations have launched a campaign inviting all candidates to sign a pledge committing to protect wild salmon and sea trout.  As of yesterday just 23 had. The first to put their hands up are listed below.  It looks like the SNP is just ahead in sign-up stakes. The pledge states:

If elected, I pledge to work towards the protection of our iconic wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout and the habitats on which they depend.”

Wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout are at risk from an enormous range of threats, many of them generated by man.  This is despite the salmon being one of the most closely regulated and studied species in the world.

Callum Sinclair, director of RAFTS, says research is beginning to unravel the true diversity of salmon in Scotland’s rivers.  But he adds: “Political support is vital to help ensure Atlantic salmon and sea trout remain in Scotland’s rivers for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”

The names of all signatories will be posted on ASFB and RAFTS websites as well as a dedicated Facebook page (asfb-rafts) and will eventually be shared with wild fisheries and angling groups across Scotland.

It will make interesting analysis.

The first to sign are:

  • Richard Lochhead (SNP): Moray (List – Highlands & Islands)
  • Mike Pringle (Lib Dem): Edinburgh Southern
  • William G Walker (SNP): Dunfermline (List – Mid Scotland & Fife)
  • Dennis Robertson (SNP): Aberdeenshire West (List – North-East Scotland)
  • Elaine Murray (Lab): Dumfriesshire (List – South of Scotland)
  • Colin Davidson (Lab): North East Fife
  • Victor Clements (Lib Dem): Perthshire North
  • Mike MacKenzie (SNP): List – Highlands & Islands
  • Euan Robson (Lib Dem): Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire
  • Hugh Campbell Adamson (Con): Angus South (List – North East Scotland)
  • Edward Mountain (Con): Caithness Sutherland & Ross (List – Highlands & Islands)
  • Hugh O’Donnell (Ind): List – Central Scotland
  • Andrew Page (Lib Dem): Renfrewshire North and West
  • Peter Kennerley (Con): Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley
  • Ettie Spencer (Lib Dem): East Lothian (List – South of Scotland)
  • Margaret Burgess (SNP): Cunninghame South
  • Rod Campbell (SNP): North East Fife (List – Mid Scotland & Fife)
  • Colin McGavigan (Con): Clydesdale (List – South of Scotland)
  • Kirsten Robb (Green): List – Central Scotland
  • Jamie McGrigor (Con): Argyll & Bute (List – Highlands & Islands)
  • John Lamont (Con): Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire
  • Drew Hendry (SNP): List – Highlands & Islands
  • John Scott (Con): Ayr (List – South of Scotland)

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