THE 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board will be celebrated tomorrow on the opening day of the new season on one of Scotland’s most famous salmon rivers.
The official opening of the 2013 season is to be held at Potarch Bridge on Royal Deeside where the guest of honour will be Alastair Hume, a retired banker who has given more than 60 years service to one of the main angling organisations on the river.
Mr Hume played a pivotal role in the development of Aberdeen and District Angling Association from its formation in 1946 to becoming Scotland’s premier angling club with 1,100 members and its own fishing beats on the Dee, Don and Ythan rivers.
He served as the association’s Vice-President or President from 1964 to 2008 and is now the Honorary President of the organisation. Mr Hume recently retired as a member of the district salmon fishery board but remains a trustee of the River Dee Trust.
A spokesman for the board said: “Alastair is the elder statesman of the Dee. For decades he has worked tirelessly to protect and ensure the Dee’s salmon runs and he cares passionately about the river’s future.”
Mark Bilsby, River Director of the DDSFB and the River Dee Trust, said: “Whilst we are very proud of our past achievements and 150 years of the Board’s stewardship of the Dee’s salmon stocks, our focus now is very much on the future.
“Rod catches of salmon continue to improve after a difficult period at the turn of the millennium. The Dee’s catch for 2012 – 7,854 salmon – has placed us in the top three of the league table of Scotland’s rivers. The Dee’s resurgence is testimony to the conservation and environmental improvement policies we have enacted in recent years, not least our conservation code and emphasis on bio-security”.
Mr Bilsby added: “For the Dee’s improvement as a premier salmon river to continue, it is vital that we encourage and nurture young new blood to carry on the important work and traditions on the riverbank. We wish to attract new people with a passion for the river to come and work with us and tap in to all the accumulated wisdom that exists amongst those who have spent decades on the Dee. With this in mind the DDSFB is introducing an annual river worker’s bursary scheme to enable a suitable individual to gain practical experience on the riverbank. We believe that this is the first such scheme in Scotland and we are committing to this for the next 150 years.”
Angling on the River Dee generates an estimated £12 million a year for the local economy and supports an estimated 500 rural jobs in the area.