IT IS interesting to see the salmon farming fraternity, and others (Letters, 2 August), twisting the debate around to game fishing. Worry not: salmon fishing is already highly sustainable. Yes, catches are up but this is absolutely no thanks to the intensive farming which is decimating wild stocks on our fine west coast rivers. Angling groups have been putting their money where their mouths are, buying up netting rights, and the “catch and release” policy adopted by fly-fishers means that the vast majority of salmon caught are actually being returned to the water.
With some of the world’s most iconic rivers on our doorstep, salmon fishing contributes significantly to Scotland’s £240 million annual income from country sports tourism, benefiting communities across the country. All in the name of sport.
From what fantasy book of statistics does Dr MR Jaffa pull his figure of 350,000 salmon killed by anglers every year (Letters, 2 August)? And his inflammatory description of “annual butchery” suggests evidence of his ignorance of the facts and isn’t worthy of any other comment.
Scott Landsburgh (Letters, same day) states that “game fishing catches have increased inexorably over the past six decades against the background of declining stocks”.
Is this nonsense pulled from the same book that Dr Jaffa uses? I was fishing on Loch Stack in Sutherland last week and we were the only boat on the water on what was once (and not six decades ago) one of Scotland’s premier sea trout fisheries, full of fish and boats and ghillies employed to operate those boats with nearby hotels used to accommodate those anglers.
Can Mr Landsburgh explain why not one sea trout was caught (and if it had been it would have been released) in light of his “inexorable increase” in fish numbers?
Why isn’t this argument put to bed once and for all by putting the farms ashore? The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Association and others will bleat about increased costs and so on but I hope recent efforts to trial this will show it is affordable and viable. And then the population can continue to eat their fatty, tasteless farmed fish.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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