Fishing for excuses

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Your heart has to bleed for the plight of investment banker Ivor Dunbar who has suffered a paper loss of about £300,000 on his purchase of a share of the river Lochy (your report, 15 July). Doesn’t he know that investments can go up and down?

It is all too easy (and fashionable) to blame salmon farming for his loss, but the evidence is particularly thin on the ground. Jon Gibb, of the Lochy Fisheries Trust, suggests that climate change may be responsible for declining catches, but a quick look at the catch figures in recent years indicates that Mr Dunbar has nothing to complain about. Official catch data (supplied by the Salmon Atlas and the Scottish Government) indicates that the ten-year average of salmon caught form the Lochy is 595 fish.

In 2000, the catch was just 211 fish and then the catch in subsequent years was 578, 280, 440, 273, 1,390, 462, 1,446, 498, 369, 343, 646 and 612 in 2012. The catches show the natural fluctuations of a wild salmon population and the catches in 2005 and 2007 were exceptional, despite the presence of salmon farms. )

This is just another excuse for the angling fraternity to “have a go” at salmon farming and clearly the catch record shows that it has little to complain about. Perhaps, Mr Dunbar got carried away and simply paid too much for his investment.

Dr M R Jaffa

Callander McDowell

Manchester

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