In November 1998 a report was commissioned by the TLC on the status and management of the River Tay Protection Order. The report was complied by Mark A. James PhD., on information collated by the committee, which was reconvened on the 26th of May 1998.
The document provided the then Minister for Agriculture, the Environment and Fisheries at The Scottish Office, with details on the then status of the management of the River Tay Protection Order, and proposals to restructure the administration of the Order.
The report was accepted and the objectives for the future of the Order were immediately implemented, and are subject to continuous updating and scrutiny.
A Protection Order is granted if it is demonstrated that there is a demand for access to fish the beats on a river system, and that access is being provided. At present any such order covers every beat and all who own fishing enjoy the terms granted under the Act, which basically requires written remission, i.e. a permit, to fish for any freshwater species, and that it is an offence under Criminal Law, not to be in possession of that permission.
In 1998 the submission document set out a list of management and reporting procedures which would be implemented by the TLC. There were also details of how such plans would be put into action, and how reviews would be undertaken.
The Administration of the TLC is funded on revenue raised by an agreed levy on Visitor's Permits, a per capita levy on Angling Club Members, and levy on the Riparian Owners. Expenditure includes agreed purchases of equipment, gratuities, expenses incurred in monitoring, attending meetings where the presence of committe members is deemed appropriate and meetings which could have an influence on the administration and management of the Tay Order. All Stationary, Postage and preparation and publication of the Annual Report are necessary for the management of the Order. All is as set out and agreed in the 1998 submission document.
The following is a summary of the management structure under the jurisdiction of the TLC, and sets out the objectives on how the Order is to be managed.
All Riparian Owners are required to provide details of how access to fish is to be given, the number of daily rods, the methods allowed, where permits are available, the times of access and the cost. It is also a requirement to state if the fishing is under lease to a third party, for example an Angling Club.
The terms and conditions contained in the agreement will be adhered to and printed in brief on permits.
The agreements are transferrable on sale of property, as confirmed by the Scottish Office, now The Scottish Government via Marine Scotland.
At present around 84% of river and loch bank is accessible, and approximately 75% of this figure is under the jurisdiction of the nine angling clubs on the Tay System. The River Tay is divided approximately into areas in which one of the Angling Clubs Operate. Each Club is responsible for ensuring that either there is an agreement with Riparian Owners, in the area, for the issuing of Permits or that Permits are offered directly to Visitors. The remaining 14% is a mixture of exclusion zones for a variety of reasons.
If a Riparian Owner or Angling Club wish to alter any part of the signed agreement, the new proposals must come before the TLC before being implemented. In general any alterations should be an improvement on the existing and should not pose any form of restriction which may tend to reduce access.
The TLC will provide a monitoring system by which the entire system of around 160 individual beats, will be visited over a three year cycle, to check if the terms of access are being adhered to by both anglers and riparian owners. These visits are recorded and published in the annual report.
Freshwater Fishery Wardens are nominated by the Riparian Owners and Angling Clubs, and their names submitted to the TLC. A training programme requires to be attended by all applicants after which an attendance certificate is issued. This certificate together with the other required information, and a passport photograph is submitted to Marine Scotland, from where the Instrument of Appointment is issued. This is the authorization under the Act to enquire of anglers if they have a permit to fish. The TLC is the only committee which has a set of procedures for training wardens and has been widely used as an example of how such committees should act and prepare to assist in managing an order.
There is a complaints procedure which is simple and effective. Every permit displays the contact details for the TLC, and should any angler experience any difficulty, they have the means of addressing the matter to the TLC. Each complaint will be acknowledged immediately, thoroughly investigated and reported to in detail within twenty eight days.
The committee will meet on a regular basis, which meetings are open to the public, and deal with any business which may come before it. There shall be an AGM held each year by the end of February. The detail of committee membership and procedures are contained in the constitution.
There is an annual report which is published by the middle of January each year, copies of which are available via the secretary.
The TLC will continue to work with other groups to maintain the objectives set out. From the annual permit returns and the monitoring reports the following information has been compiled, which facts show how the Tay Order is being managed.
1. Of the beats returning information there is access to 86% of available fishing.
2. Of the available daily rods, around 26% are being taken up.
3. Sunday permits are available on 76% of the system.
4. The preference for Fly Fishing for Brown Trout has increased to around 74%.
5. Grayling Fishing access where this specie is found is around 87%.
6. Coarse Angling access has shown the largest increase in demand around 93%.
7. Access for Night Fishing has dropped to 23%.
8. Permit cost per day is from £3 to £10. Weekly permits and seasonal are available as is affiliate membership to clubs.
9. Limit of size of Brown Trout which can be retained is between 25cm and 35cm.
10. Catch and release is widely encouraged and many anglers are practicing this voluntary with the aid of barnless hooks.
Above all the TLC will strive to achieve the best possible access, with conditions, and having a concern for the quality of water and the habitat, as well as conserving the fish species. This will be achieved with the objectives set out and the co-operation of all anglers and riparian owners.
The following pages form an extract from the 1998 Report collated by Dr. Mark James and accepted by the then Minister. This document has been supported by all Scottish Administrations to the present day and the management structure has been followed and maintained by successive River Tay Liaison Committees.
The preceding pages to these, in the full original report, covered the historical back ground from 1986, and the concluding pages are supporting letters to the report from a variety of organisations connected to the River Tay System. This extract is the core of how the Protection Order is administered.
There have been various changes to the Scottish Fishing Acts from 1998 to the present, which have altered legal terms and clauses from those on which the Original River Tay Order was based.
In addition the structure and name of the Scottish Government Department responsible for all aspects of fish management and control has changed.
NOTES :- The under noted are a guide to what has changed or been updated since 1998.
1. A number of the groups who signed the document no longer attend regular meetings. However local groups with specific fishing interests do have nominated representatives on the TLC.
2. There have been consultations with external Agencies on projects, which involve habitat. In instances where river or loch banks are to be subject to alteration plans require to be submitted and licenses obtained by Law.
3. Committee Meetings are now on an as and when basis but generally average Six per annum.
4. Reviewing and updating access agreements is of paramount importance and this is constantly being brought to the attention of clubs and associations, particularly from the legal aspect.
5. The Scottish Minister with responsibility for fishing matters and the department, now being Marine Scotland, are to which all reports etc are now directed.
6. In the First Instance all Complaints are directed to the TLC's Nominated Member
7. Monitoring now covers a much broader range other than the initial being able to obtain a permit and now many subjects are aired with Owners, Ghillies and Anglers.
8. Training of Wardens is required before a certificate is issued to prove to Marine Scotland that the applicant is competent to apply for the Warrant Card. Proof of receiving the Card must be sent to the TLC by the holder. Renewal of Warden's Cards shall be determined with out retraining if there is sufficient documentation to confirm the Card holder is carrying out the necessary duties and returning regular reports.
9. The use of the Protection Order Web Site ensures Minutes, Reports and any other information is readily available. In addition all information forms carry the date of the AGM and when the report is available on line.
10. An Information booklet was published in March 2002.
11. There have never been any Government Funds available to Protection Orders. The answer has always been self funding.
12. The Levy on All Permit Sales, Club Members and Riparian Owner's Beats is determined at the AGM.
13. The mileage rate for all business on behalf of the TLC shall be decided at the AGM.
14. Honorariums for those considered carrying out administration necessary for the continuation of the TLC, beyond the level considered as "voluntary", shall be considered at the AGM along with any similar items.
15. There have been revision procedures on various legislation over the years and the TLC have and will continue to represent views on this in the best interests of the River Tay Freshwater Angling.
MANAGEMENT OF THE PROTECTION ORDER
7.1. Reconstitution and Structure of the Tay Liaison Committee
In acknowledging the need to restructure and properly fulfil its obligations as set out in its Terms of Reference (Appendix 1), the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC), was reconstituted on 26th May 1998. New senior officers were elected, and the process of updating the considerable body of information necessary for the preparation of a comprehensive audit of all the beats covered by the Protection Order was begun.
It is important that the TLC represents a broad spectrum of interests in the fishery and that this is reflected in the makeup of the Committee.
The reconstituted TLC has 30 Members, with representatives from all of the local angling clubs who are themselves tenants of, or administrate waters included in the Tay Protection Order, several proprietors or their representatives, The Loch Tay Association, a Police Constable with responsibility for Community Relations, together with representatives of the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board. The Strathmore Angling Association is also represented, as many of its member clubs fishes the waters of the Tay, both the Grayling Society and the Scottish Anglers National Association are also represented.
A full list of Committee members is included in Appendix 2.
The reconstituted Committee has recognised the need to overhaul its administrative procedures and establish more formal links with other organisations involved in the conservation and management of the fishery. This process has involved setting up a series of working parties charged with the responsibility for streamlining data collection and dissemination improving complaints procedures establishing beat monitoring procedures formalising links with, and ensuring feedback from, other organisations involved in the management of the catchment improving liaison with the police and Government warden - training and development assessing permit regulations with respect to their acceptability to coarse and grayling anglers development of a proposal for introducing a levy on permits
Each working party has reported its findings and made recommendations to the Committee.
The procedures documented herein have been formally agreed by the Committee and are now being implemented.
Individual Committee members are to be made responsible for ensuring liaison with specified external bodies. Details of working group reports and appropriate recommendations are set out in later sections of this document.
The TLC also recognises the need to continue to improve access to fishings by expanding representation and encourage more proprietors to become full participants in the Tay Protection Order. The Committee is aware that such commitments will only be forthcoming if proprietors can be convinced of the benefits of participation and confident that their rights will be protected.
In the near future it is hoped that representatives from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Hydro-Electric, Scottish Natural Heritage and North of Scotland Water will be co-opted onto the Committee or agree to act in advisory capacity to the Committee.
The TLC now holds Committee meetings on a quarterly basis with ad hoc sub-committee or working group meetings as required. An Annual General Meeting will also take place. Non Committee members are always welcome to attend meetings. TLC meeting minutes are available to the public from the Secretary. In the past, representation from the Tay Access Group and the Scottish Campaign for Public Angling has been sought. Regrettably, this offer has not been taken up but the invitation remains open.
7.2 Changes in Status of Fishings
Since the Protection Order was granted, a number of beats have undergone one or more changes of ownership, often resulting in the subdivision of the waters and new beats have been added to the Protection Order. Within beats, changes have taken place in the operation of fishings, with reference to both access and availability. In order to track these changes effectively, the TLC has initiated a series of procedures and protocols that will ensure that changes are recorded accurately and information on each fishery can be interrogated quickly.
The Tay Liaison Committee now undertakes to provide proprietors with a copy of the beat proposal information provided under the Protection Order together with an information pack on the agreed procedures for proposed changes in the status of fishings.
The information pack will contain:
(i) A statement setting out the proprietors legal obligations as signatories to the beat information provided under the Protection Order.
(ii) Details of the procedures for any proposed changes to the status of the fishings (Appendix 4).
(iii) Complaints procedures (Appendix 3).
The TLC has advised local angling clubs that changes in the status of fishings should be permanently on their meeting agendas and that notification of any proposed changes should be passed on to the Secretary of the TLC at the earliest opportunity.
A computerised relational database has also been developed to allow this information to be rapidly collated and more effectively managed.
7.3 Annual Reporting Procedures
One of the fundamental roles of the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC), is to gather data pertinent to the operation of the Protection Order, to provide statistics on access, availability and demand for fishing as well as more general information on conservation measures.
In this capacity, the TLC is specifically tasked by the Secretary of State for Scotland to provide him/her with data as it relates to the River Tay Catchment Area Protection Order under the Freshwater and Salmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act 1976. The TLC is committed to this process and complies an Annual Report to the Scottish Office.
In the near future, however, it is anticipated that the structure of annual reporting will need to be reassessed pending the recommendations of the Task Force report on Protection Orders. In order to streamline the process of data collection and ensure timely submission of reports, the TLC have now appointed a Collator with responsibility to collect the necessary information and publish an Annual Report.
7.4 Complaints and Resolution of Disputes
Historically, the TLC has not found it necessary to formalise its complaints procedures. In reviewing its management policies, however, the Committee has taken the view that a formal process is now required to ensure the effective and efficient resolution of disputes related to the Protection Order.
It has become clear that many proprietors and anglers seeking access to fishings are not fully aware of their rights and obligations under the Protection Order. Disputes may arise simply as a result of such basic misunderstanding.
The TLC and associated angling clubs will inform relevant parties of their legal status and thus, in the first instance, reduce the potential for complaint. It is proposed that this action will take the form of the distribution of an information pack to all angling clubs, proprietors, TLC members, permit outlets, detailing their rights and obligations under the Protection Order, the sort of information that should be included on permits and Complaints Procedures.
Details of the Complaints Procedure will also be included in all TLC Annual Reports together with details and a statistical breakdown of complaints received and resolved. In the event of a complaint, procedures have been set in place to provide a clear protocol for dealing with the complaint and the provision of a structured, time-bound response (see Appendix 3).
It is to be hoped that the combined approach of informing individuals of their rights whilst implementing a robust complaints procedure will ensure confidence in the TLC's ability to administer this process.
7.5 Monitoring Compliance with the Tay Protection Order
As part of its commitment to facilitating the proper monitoring and policing of the Protection Order, the TLC has initiated a Monitoring Programme with the appointment of an independent Monitor whose responsibility will be to visit, on an annual basis, at least one third of beats included in the Protection Order.
The Monitor will, by attempting to secure a permit to fish these beats, ensure that the access, availability and cost of fishing complies with the commitments stated on the Beat Information form supplied to the Tay Liaison Committee by the proprietor or tenant angling club in making those waters available under the Protection Order. Priority will be given to visiting beats where breaches of access or availability have occurred and/or complaints have been received.
Over a three year cycle, the Monitor will attempt to visit all the beats included in the Protection Order. The Monitor will report back to the Committee on a quarterly basis and submit a summary of activities to the Collator for inclusion in the Annual Report.
7.6 Permits and Angling Club Membership Cards
The TLC recognises that there may be advantages in standardising the format of permits and Angling Club membership cards throughout the Tay system.
All fishing permits should bear:
The basic regulations on the fishings where possible, a map and/or an accurate description of the waters available
Contact .information for the TLC, in the case of complaint related to access or availability of fishing contact information for a local warden/ bailiff to report any angling infringement summary of TLC policy for dealing with complaints.
It has been suggested that Angling Club membership cards should bear a photographic likeness of the Club member, as this would enable bailiffs/wardens to confirm the identity of the card holder.
7.7 Police Liaison and Enforcement
Close co-operation between all parties involved in policing the Protection Order is essential if this form of legislative control is to be effective in ensuring reasonable access to fishings whilst conserving the fishery and protecting the rights of proprietors.
Prior to the reconstitution of the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) there had been very little liaison between the Committee and the Police. Building on the groundwork of the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board (TDSFB), there are now a number of ongoing initiatives to rectify this situation.
In the near future, a meeting is to be held with the intention of formulating a series of strategies for the policing of the Tay fishery as a whole. The meeting will involve the Inspector of Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries for Scotland, Tayside Police, the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, the River Tay District Advisory Committee, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Scottish Natural Heritage, together with Liaison Committee representatives from the Tay, Earn and Tummel.
Topics under discussion will include:
Liaison between Bailiffs, Wardens and the Police
The development of River Watch systems
Trespassing and Criminal Damage
The Wildlife and Countryside Act as it relates to the operation of Protection Orders
Information - Distribution and Exchange
It is envisaged that this meeting will serve to inform all parties involved of the current status of policing activities. Starting with this knowledge, it will then be possible to develop practical measures to radically improve the coordination of fisheries protection within the catchment.
At present, wardens are appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland and bailiffs, by the TDSFB. Wardens and Bailiffs are charged with policing the fishery at a local level on a day to day basis. The powers of these offices vary considerably and demand that proper training be given to those executing these duties.
As a result of discussions with the TDSFB and Tayside Police, TLC wardens will now by arrangement with TDSFB, undergo training, similar to that already provided by them for bailiffs.
This action will enable wardens to deal with incidents more effectively.
Regular contact will be maintained with Tayside Police and other Police Forces. It is anticipated that this increased level of co-operation will result in a more efficient and effective enforcement of the Protection Order and indeed Policing of the wider catchment.
7.8 Wardens and Bailiffs
Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) Members currently provide approximately 30 of the 75 wardens/bailiffs on the Tay system. Since the introduction of the River Tay Protection Order, however, there have been few arrests and no prosecutions secured. This clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of verbal communication on the riverbank, backed up by the powers available under the Protection Order.
When an angler is found to be fishing without a permit the Warden/Bailiff points out where permits can be obtained. Since these are, by and large, easily available at reasonable cost, the angler has little excuse not to be in possession of a permit.
The TLC is actively seeking to improve the quality and professionalism of fisheries policing, and now insists that wardens undergo training, to be provided annually by the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board commencing in Spring 1999.
7.9 Communications and Publicity
A key role of the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC), in encouraging better access to fishings and promoting good angling practice, is to publicise information on issues related to the availability, access and conservation of the fishery covered by the Tay Protection Order.
The TLC provides copies of Committee meeting minutes to a variety of outside bodies as a matter of course. Minutes are also publicly available on request from the Secretary. Annual Reports are submitted to the Secretary of State for Scotland and will, in future, be circulated to all proprietors and angling clubs with beats covered by the Protection Order.
In addition, Annual Reports will be sent to:
National and local organisations including: the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the Salmon and Trout Association, Scottish Anglers National Association, the T ay Access Group, Scottish Campaign for Public Angling, The Grayling Society and the Pike Angling Club.
Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Scottish Office Agriculture Environment and Fisheries Department
Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board
The Tay Foundation
The Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory
Loch Tay Association
Perth & Kinross Council, Dundee City Council
Police Community Liaison Officers
Scottish Tourist Board - Perth Office
Members of Parliament whose constituencies include parts of the Tay system covered by the Protection Order River Tay District Advisory Committee (RTDAC)
Annual Reports will be available to the general public in hard copy at nominal cost and freely available on the world-wide-web. The availability of the Annual Report will be advertised in the local press.
7.9.1 Publishing of the Availability of Fishings
The TLC recognises the need to publicise the availability of fishings and currently supplies the Tourist Information Board (Perth) with a complete listing of available fishings together with details of permit outlets. Some local angling clubs also produce their own listings and these are lodged with local Tourist Offices.
On a local level also, some angling clubs have invested in road signage, advertising the availability of fishings and the locations of permit outlets.
Whilst local angling clubs are encouraged to advertise angling opportunities within their own areas, the TLC is currently compiling an angling access information database which will ensure that an up-to-date listing of available waters can be provided to all permit outlets and fishing tackle shops in the region.
The possibility of compiling a booklet, detailing fishing opportunities on the Tay has recently been examined by the TLC. As a matter of priority the TLC will consider forming partnerships with local businesses and relevant angling bodies to sponsor the production of a high quality "Angling opportunities on the Tay" leaflet, that could be easily updated on an annual basis.
The TLC provides information to "Where to Fish", a well known, and nationally distributed angling publication. This information is included in the annually published hard copy book, and on the "Where to Fish" web-site. The TLC also has access to the appropriate technology and expertise to publish on the world-wide web. At present, this option represents the most cost effective and flexible medium for the dissemination of angling information. On an annual basis, the TLC will be making available to "webmasters" information relating to the availability of fishing. Data will be sent in hard copy and digital format to the following sites:
Scotland for Fishing
Scottish Angling Showcase
Where to Fish Directory
Complete Angler Online
Selected specialist angling magazines
On "fishingnet" the TLC already publishes information on fishing availability: http://www.fishingnet.com
This information is available free of charge to the general public. The web-site contains full details of angling opportunities, permit prices and outlets, together with notes on local regulations and advice. Currently the site covers the main stem of the Tay system from Killin to the estuary but will eventually be expanded to cover the entire catchment.
Where possible the site contains maps and photographs of fishings. Information is organised as a set of linked pages, with each page covering a pool or stretch of river. Through this medium, it is possible for an angler to survey waters throughout the Tay system. The site also includes details of angling clubs and how to contact them.
Club pages are cross-linked to beat/pool pages. In future, the site will contain a "clickable" map that will allow information on angling opportunities to be obtained by general location.
The TLC uses the web-site to provide information on membership, publish meeting reports, and to advertise details of meetings.
7.9.2 Press Relations
Given the geographical scale of the Tay catchment, the TLC relies heavily on the press and other local media to publicise issues relevant to both the operation of the Protection Order, and matters of more general interest to the angling community.
Members of the local and regional press have been encouraged to attend Committee meetings.
Press releases are to be made available either on request from the Secretary or may be sent directly to local media outlets, particularly where issues have arisen that may warrant media attention. For example, the TLC has recently played an important role in reopening grayling fishing on parts of the Tay. This information represents a positive step forward in terms of the operation of the Protection Order.
When appropriate, press releases will be circulated to the following media:
The Daily Record
Comment and News Round North (local news sheets)
Heartland FM (local radio)
7.10 Links with Other Organisations
Through its membership, the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) has links with a number of bodies with interests in the management and conservation of the fishery . In the past, these links have been informal and the Committee has relied upon general feed back from its members.
Since its reconstitution, however, the TLC has sought to strengthen and, where possible, formalise established inks. The TLC is also endeavoring to forge relationships with organisations that have, historically, been hostile to the principles, which they view as being espoused through the implementation of the Protection Order.
TLe members participate in the Loch Tay Association, the Tay Advisory Committee and have frequent informal contacts with the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board (TDSFB) and with governmental bodies such as the Fresh Water Fisheries Laboratory (FFL).
The TLC is keen to collaborate with other Liaison Committee's on the Tay system, to identify issues of common interest and perhaps standardise administrative procedures.
Moves to improve the policing of the Protection Order are opening up new avenues of communication and coperation with both the Police and the TDSFB. With respect to the TLC's role in the conservation of the fishery, the Committee plans to liaise closely with staff at FFL, TDSFB and encourage input from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, and Hydro-Electric.
7.11 Funding TLC Committee Administration
The Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) currently operates on a voluntary basis and relies on the generosity and goodwill of its membership. With the need to better co-ordinate its administrative activities with respect to the Protection Order and to be more proactive in the management and conservation of the Tay catchment as a whole, the TLC is now exploring ways to develop a stable income base.
Some form of equitable levy, probably derived from permit sales, and collected by the TLC, would provide a reasonably consistent level of income. In addition, the TLC may seek to boost these funds by forging partnerships with local businesses and organisations that would benefit from the targeted advertising and public relations opportunities offered by high quality information dissemination to the angling community.
Levy funds would be used to pay for professional assistance in the administration of the Protection Order and the other business of the Committees. In particular, funds could be channeled into expanding the Committees communications capacity, providing financial support for conservation measures and allow the TLC to play a more direct role in joint initiatives to benefit the catchment as a whole.
According to the Freshwater & Salmon fisheries (Scotland) Act 1976 (c. 22) Section 5,
The Secretary of State may, in accordance with arrangements made by him with the approval of the Treasury, make payments out of money provided by Parliament of such amount and subject to such conditions as he may determine to any organisation approved by him and having as their object, or one of their principal objects, the development and improvement of freshwater fisheries and the making of such fisheries available for letting or fishing by persons authorised to fish".
This section of the 1976 Act would indicate that the Secretary of State could also offer financial support for the administration of the Protection Order.
7.12 Coarse and Grayling Fishing on the Tay
Most of the Tay system holds coarse fish with parts ofthe catchment supporting strong populations of several secies. Although the grayling breeds at the same time as coarse fish (late March to early June) it is a salmonid. For the purposes of general discussion related to fishing access and availability, however, grayling and coarse fish can be considered together. Both are often poor relations, in terms of angling access and availability. This situation bas largely arisen through ignorance of the biology of these species and fishing practices concerned.
A considerable number of anglers specialise in fishing for coarse fish and grayling and therefore it is important that every effort is made to ensure that fishing for these species is both accessible and available throughout the year.
Given that coarse fishing and grayling angling practices do not conflict with salmon and trout angling interests, there is no reason why coarse, grayling and game anglers should not enjoy the same fishing opportunities.
In recognising the need to reconcile these problems, Tay Liaison Committee has set up a Coarse Fishing Liaison Group comprised of representatives from the; Tay District Salmon Fishery Board, Pike Angling Club of Great Britain, Grayling Society, Dunmore Angling Club, and Tay Liaison Committee. This group will discuss the need for more uniform regulation of coarse and grayling fishing.
8. CONSERVATION OF THE FISHERY
Proper implementation of the Tay Protection Order is pivotal to the conservation of trout, grayling and coarse fish and the fisheries they support.
Regulation of fishing is important, particularly for brown trout. These fish spawn in late autumn and this process depletes the fish's energy reserves. Recovery tends to be slow over the winter period and really begins in earnest when food availability increases in the spring. At the start of the fishing season, in mid March, adult fish feed ravenously and are highly vulnerable to being caught by bait fishing. Previous experience has shown that a few seasons of unrestricted bait fishing can devastate riverine trout populations by removing the older and larger adults, leaving behind a sustainable, but depleted population of small trout.
As a result of the stability provided by Protection Order legislation there is both increased awareness of the need for, and more structured investment in, conservation. Revocation of the Protection Order would undermine conservation measures that have taken place and stifle future initiatives. Proprietors and Angling Clubs are less likely to engage in restocking and habitat improvement if their investments are afforded no legal protection. Moreover, the funds to make such improvements, are derived largely from the sale of fishing penn its within the context of the Protection Order.
At the heart of the Tay system is the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory at Pitlochry. This institution, together with other local expertise at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and a number of Universities ensures that the Tay, perhaps more than any other system in Scotland, has access to unparalleled expertise in the field of freshwater fisheries management. In addition to their professional commitments, many members of these institutions are anglers and actively contribute advice and practical skills through local angling clubs and Liaison Committees.
The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board has a statutory remit to conserve and improve salmon and migratory trout stocks. Recent changes in the structure of the way the Board operates acknowledges that measures to improve migratory salmonid stocks are inextricably linked to the management of other freshwater species.
Angling clubs and individual proprietors tend to engage in localised stocking and riparian habitat improvement programmes. Within the context of the Protection Order, conservation measures are detailed in Annual Reports to the Scottish Office.
Many parts of the area covered by the Protection Order are also designated as Special Sites of Scientific Interests and there are proposals for a National Park that would include parts of the catchment. These designations also afford the riverine habitat some protection, but benefit from the support of Protection Order legislation.
The stocking and distribution of brown trout and other freshwater species within the Tay system has given cause for concern.
The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board and the Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department do not record brown trout or other freshwater fish movements. Current fish diseases legislation (Diseases of Fish Acts 1937 and 1983) can enforce a Restriction of Movement Order on fish which are diseased. If fish are free from disease, however, they can be distributed and there is no control of stocking.
Monitoring conservation activities is important to determine both the efficacy and cost effectiveness of such measures. Uncoordinated conservation activities may confound and detract from the collective investment made in maintaining healthy fish stocks. The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board is now encouraging those organisations engaged in stocking to provide prior details of their activities and will distribute a pro-forma to facilitate accurate reporting.
Although not included in this report, there is a considerable body of research and development work conducted within the Tay system, that is of direct relevance to the management and conservation of the catchment. It is difficult to quantify the overall investment in conservation and assess the real impact of such measures without a more coordinated approach to the management of all freshwater species on the Tay system.
8.1 Social and Economic Benefits of the Recreational Fishery
Recreational fishing is an important but, as yet, largely unquantified generator of wealth, particularly in rural areas of Scotland. In recent years there have been a number of surveys of angling expenditure, mainly concentrated on salmon fisheries and focused on specific catchments or regions (see Table 3.). However, these studies have been limited, not only in their failure to address the broader issues of economic valuation, but in their exclusion of species. In Scotland, published economic assessments reflect the interests of the highly productive and historically significant East Coast salmon fisheries. Little formal attention has been paid to the economic status of recreational fisheries involving the exploitation of non migratory and coarse fish species, i.e. those species which are of interest to the majority of anglers.
The recreational fishery for trout, for example, is a widespread and challenging resource throughout Scotland, but one which has never been effectively assessed in terms of its current and future potential.
Intuitively, the commercial worth of the salmon and sea trout fishery is greater than that of the non-migratory trout, grayling and coarse fishery resource. However, cursory analysis suggests that the latter resources hold considerable, and as yet untapped, potential for future development in terms of economic value and employment prospects for many areas of rural Scotland.
Figures provided by the Scottish Tourist Board indicate that approximately 300,000 British Tourists visit Scotland each year with fishing as the sole or partial reason for their visit (based on 1995 figures). For Perthshire this means that around 33,000 anglers visit the region each year. A conservative estimate for their expenditure is in the order of £9 million (at 1995 prices). These figures do not include expenditure by local anglers, or anglers travelling from outwith the United Kingdom. For the Tay as a whole this figure is likely to be far greater and is estimated to be £14 - 15 million.
Recreational fishing activity creates employment in rural communities, and it is estimated that approximately 500 people are employed in the T ay area as a direct result of salmon and sea trout fishing alone (Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board Report 1996).
8.2 Strategic Management Issues
8.2.1 Integrated Fisheries Management Plan
At present, an integrated fisheries management plan for the Tay system is urgently required. Such a plan must focus on the development of policies and management structures that will promote conservation and sustainable development of the Tay, as a fundamental natural and cultural resource in this region. In practice, this should mean that future fisheries management strategies should evolve from a co-ordinated approach, rather than from the divisive and antiquated notions surrounding single species management or iniquitous access arrangements. As such, there may be a case for setting up an "independent" consultative body to set in motion and oversee the development of an Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.
8.2.2 Blanket Protection
At present, the situation exists where, under the blanket nature of the Protection Order, propri-etors who refuse to comply with the Order continue to derive the benefits conveyed by this legislation. Whilst a change in status of the fishery is addressed procedurally (Appendix 6), the TLC is of the opinion that the onus to inform the Committee of any changes should be placed on the proprietors.
The TLC is also of the opinion, that Warden status should only be granted to individuals who are active on beats that comply with both the practice and spirit of the Protection Order, and that the threat of the withdrawal of coverage by wardens and bailiffs, and indeed the "protection" of the Order should be a legitimate course of action in the event of non compliance
In signing the Protection Order Beat Information Form ("proposal") the proprietor is, effectively, entering into a contract to allow access to fishings under specified conditions. Should the proprietor not be willing to honour those conditions, for whatever reason, there are grounds to suspect that they may fall foul of the Trades Description Act Misrepresentation of Services.
The Committee are therefore concerned that the contractual relationship between proprietors and those administering the Protection Order should be clarified.
8.2.4 Tidal Water
At present, the Protection Order covers freshwater fish in inland waters. Tidal parts of the Tay and the tidal section of the Annaty Burn are, therefore, not protected under the Order. As far as the TLC is aware, a proprietor cannot prevent fishing for freshwater fish in the "tidal" parts of the Tay, even by recourse to Civil Law. This anomaly of definition should be addressed to give freshwater species in the lower reaches of the system protection under the Order.
8.2.5 Codes of Practice
Regrettably, the oral tradition of passing on information about acceptable angling etiquette is no longer sufficient. The provision of a structured code of practice for both anglers and proprietors would undoubtedly help to avoid unnecessary disputes and create a degree of mutual respect and understanding. Pending consultation, the TLC therefore proposes to draft such a code. The Committee are also keen to see that the Countryside Code (Scottish Natural Heritage) is more widely publicised particularly those aspects of the code that are sympathetic to the operation of the Protection Order.
8.2.6 Beat Identification
The present system of identifying beats by sequential number (i.e. 1-107) is difficult to administer when beats are subdivided, joined, change ownership, or are described inaccurately. The lieproposes that in collaboration with the Scottish Office, a more logical and accurate system of beat identification be set in place. Ideally, the beat should be identified as a contiguous set of accurate co-ordinates of appropriate resolution, backed up by a detailed literal description of the limits of each contiguous section. An overall alphanumeric reference could then be allocated that, for example, indicated which River or Loch the beat was on and when the beat was defined. The latter would change whenever a beat's co-ordinates were modified.
8.2.7 Stocking Practices
In certain situations the efficacy of fish stocking is undeniable, particularly in some enclosed loch systems that have a history of stocking in response to heavy angling pressure. Scientific evidence suggest, however, that the provenance of stocked fish is important, and there is the inherent possibility of disease and parasite transfer. As such, there may be a need to assess current stocking practices throughout the system and seek guidance on the most appropriate stocking policy.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
1. The Tay Liaison Committee was reconstituted on the 26th May 1998. This Committee is committed to ensuring equitable, responsible and sustainable access to the angling resources of the Tay catchment.
2. The access and availability of fishings currently provided under the Tay Protection Order are not significantly different from those provided under the original Order in 1986. Access to the "major waters" of the Tay as defined under the original Protection Order has increased by at least 5. Availability: the cost of fishing permits remains low as compared with equivalent leisure activities and rises in permit prices have mirrored changes in the Retail Price Index overall, only about 25 of the permits available on anyone day are taken up fishings restricted to "fly only" have risen from 17 to 21 , this is not considered a significant rise and reflects the need to conserve stocks the availability of night fishing has decreased by 3 to 23 the availability of Sunday fishing has increased by 5 to 84 bag limits of 2 - 10 fish are imposed on 49 of fishings size limits of an average of 23cm are imposed on 90 of fishings grayling and coarse fishing availability has increased by 17 to 64 and is prevented on only 9 of available waters there are arrangements for large angling parties on 70 of available waters.
3. The Committee is cognisant of the need to set in place and implement management practices and administrative functions that will ensure the Tay Protection Order works at a practical level.
4. Structured procedures have been set in place for: changes in the status of fishings resolution of complaints monitoring of beats annual reporting.
5. More uniform standards for grayling and coarse fishing activities are under discussion
6. Wardens are to undergo training.
7. A Police Liaison Group has been established.
8. Recommendations have been made with respect to the information that fishing permits and angling club membership cards should carry.
9. The TLC will be increasing its information dissemination role using the world-wide-web, together with conventional methods of publicising angling opportunities and issues.
10. In order to sustain the level of administrative activity need to ensure effective management of the Tay Protection Order, the TLC is investigating means of securing a sustainable income by way of an angling permit levy.
11. Recreational angling is an important part of the economic and social fabric of the ·rural community in Perthshire, employing at least 500 people and generating an estimated £15 million per annum for the local economy.
12. The Tay Protection Order is generally considered to underpin efforts to conserve the fishery. With dwindling stocks, the need to regulate fishing activity in a meaningful and effective manner is vital.
13. Continued and increased investment in the conservation of the fishery is only likely to occur if those bodies and individuals making such contributions can be assured that their Investment can be protected
14. The TLC is keen to promote improved communications between all sectors of the angling community and other bodies with interests in the Tay catchment.
15. Tay Protection Order is an instrument which, in providing a legal framework for proprietors to offer access to fishings, also encourages responsible angling practices and facilitates co-ordinated management of the fishery.
Strategic management of the River Tay catchment, demands that the Protection Orders currently in place are effectively managed and, where appropriate, expanded.
16. In many respects, the true value of Protection Order legislation may only now be apparent with moves to develop a catchment management plan for the Tay. When administered effectively, with the full co-operation of the police and the support of the judiciary, Protection Orders will be an important facet of the formal structure around which realistic catchment management policies can evolve.
The Tay Liaison Committee and, in particular, the Executive Group (Mr Jeffrey, Mr Millar and Mr Christie) responsible for the preparation of this report would like to acknowledge the following individuals and organisations for their assistance and support; Mrs Brenda Hardy, Mr Bruce Moyes, Mr Jim Chambers and all contributing Angling Club Secretaries. Of the Committee, Mr Stewart, Mr Boswell, Mr Humphrey and Mr Fishlock all made significant contributions to the compilation of the report. The Committee would also like to thank Dr Shelton, Dr Walker, Mr Gardiner and Mr Harriman of The Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory for commenting on the report and Mr Thomson, Mr Dunkley and Mr Davidson, of The Scottish Office for their guidance.
TERMS OF REFERENCE:
The Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) is a voluntary non-governmental organisation specifically tasked by the Secretary of State for Scotland to provide himfher with data as it relates to the River Tay Catchment Area Protection Order 1986 (SI 1986/1950) as varied by the River Tay Catchment Area Protection (Renewal) Order 1993 Variation Order 1996 (SI 1996/58) under the Freshwater and Salmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act 1976.
In fulfillment of these obligations in both practice and spirit, the TLC should undertake to: Provide an effective administrative structure capable of the collection and dissemination of statistics required in accordance with the River Tay Area Protection Order (1986) and any variations thereof (TPO);
To facilitate the proper monitoring and policing of the waters covered by the TPO; provide a framework for the effective resolution of disputes pertaining to the implementation of the TPO; promote responsible and sustainable management of the loch and riverine resources, with particular reference to the conservation of the freshwater fishery covered by the TPO; co-ordinate the collation and dissemination of information regarding freshwater fishing within the waters covered by the TPO; where appropriate, act as a link organisation by providing a forum for liaison between a broad range of institutions, bodies and individuals involved with the management, exploitation and conservation of loch and riverine resources within the catchment of the River Tay.
FORMAT AND DISTRIBUTION
1. The Complaints Procedure should be reviewed annually, agreed by all members of the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) and any actions or disciplinary decisions taken by TLC at Committee level complied with.
2. The Complaints Procedure should be included in all TLC Annual Reports with a statistical breakdown of complaints received and resolved. The procedure should also be distributed to all TLC Members/permit outlets : Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board : Perth & Kinross Council and The Scottish Office.
3. A policy statement must be contained on all permits.
HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
1. All Complaints must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of the Tay Liaison Committee.
2. The Complainant should:
(a) Provide their name, address and telephone number
(b) give the date, time and location of the incident
(c) Provide an accurate description of the incident
(d) Provide details (names, addresses) of any witnesses
( e) Sign and date the complaint
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THAT COMPLAINT
1. Upon receipt, the TLC Secretary will log and record each complaint and return a letter of acknowledgement to the complainant.
2. Complaints will be forwarded to the TLC Chairman to initiate the action required.
3. The TLC undertakes to respond in writing to all complainants within 28 days of receipt of the complaint. This response will inform the complainant:
(a) Of the decision taken and the reason(s) for this decision or
(b) That further investigation is required and what action will be taken to achieve this
4. In the case of 3(b) the TLC has a further 28 days to make the necessary investigations, reach its conclusions and inform the Complainant of its decision.
5. If the Complainant is not satisfied with the resolution made bv the TLC then thev may appeal to the TLC in writing within 28 days giving the reasons for their dissatisfaction otherwise matter will otherwise be deemed closed.
6. If the Complainant appeals against the Committees decision within the stated period, the TLC will reconsider the complaint, and respond within 28 days indicating that the original decision stands and stating the reasons for this, or if any other action is to be taken
If the Complainant is still not satisfied, they must inform the TLC in writing within 14 days. The TLC will then pass copies of all correspondence and relevant minutes to The Scottish Office within 14 days of receipt. The TLC will request that the appropriate Scottish Office Department offer guidance on the appropriate action.
STATEMENT OF POLICY - to appear on all permits
All Complaints must be submitted in writing according to the procedures laid down by the Tay Liaison Committee.
Copies of Complaints Procedures are available from the Secretary of the Tay Liaison Committee (contact details and other sources to be listed). The Tay Liaison Committee undertakes to respond, in writing, to all reasonable complaints within 28 days of receipt.
CHANGE IN STATUS OF THE FISHINGS PROCEDURE
The Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) undertakes to provide proprietors with a copy of the beat proposal information provided under the Protection Order together with an information pack on the agreed procedures for proposed Change in Status of the Fishings.
The information pack will contain:
(i) A statement setting out the proprietors legal obligations as signatories to the beat information provided under the Protection Order.
(ii) Details of the procedures for any proposed changes to the status of the fishings.
(iii) Complaints procedures.
Any proposed changes to the beat proposal information provided under the Protection Order must be submitted in writing to the TLC Secretary
The TLC must approve the proposed changes before they are implemented.
The TLC undertakes to notify the proposer of their decision within 28 days of receipt of the proposal.
Items 5, 6 and 7 of the Complaints Procedure apply to disputes related to the Committees decision.
Change of ownership of the riparian rights requires that a copy of the Protection Order Agreement and the beat information sheet be exchanged with the title deeds of the property. In the event of a change of ownership of the riparian rights, the TLC must be informed
1. To ensure compliance with both the practice and spirit of the Tay Protection Order, the Tay Liaison Committee (TLC) undertakes to monitor access and availability of fishings included in the Protection Order.
2. The TLC shall appoint an independent Monitor whose responsibility will be to visit, on an annual basis, at least one third of beats included in the Protection Order.
3. The Monitor will, by attempting to secure the right to fish these beats, ensure that the access, availability and cost of fishing complies with the commitments stated on the Beat Information form supplied to the TLC by the proprietor or tenant angling club in making those waters available under the Protection Order.
4. Over a three year cycle, the Monitor will attempt to visit all the Beats included in the Protection Order.
5. Priority will be given to visiting Beats where breaches of the Protection Order have occurred and/or complaints have been received.
6. The Monitor shall report his/her findings on a quarterly basis to the TLC.
7. A summary of monitoring activities shall be submitted to the "Collator" of the Annual Report by no later than the 31st. October each year.
The Tay Liaison Committee (TLC), is specifically tasked by the Secretary of State for Scotland to provide him/her with data as it relates to the River Tay Catchment Area Protection Order 1986 (SI 1986/1950) as varied by the River Tay Catchment Area Protection (Renewal) Order 1993 Variation Order 1996 (SI 1996/58) under the Freshwater and Salmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act 1976.
The Liaison Committee shall, therefore, appoint one of the Members as Collator, to collect information, and publish an Annual Report. The report shall be available two weeks prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting and circulated to the following:-
National and local organisations including: the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the Salmon and Trout Association, Scottish Anglers National Association, the Tay Access Group, Scottish Campaign for Public Angling, The Grayling Society and the Pike Angling Club of Great Britain, the Scottish Sports Council.
Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Scottish Office Agriculture Environment and Fisheries Department
Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board
The Tay Foundation
The Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory
Loch Tay Association
Perth & Kinross Council, Dundee City Council
Police Community Liaison Officers
Scottish Tourist Board - Perth Office
Members of Parliament whose constituencies include parts of the Tay system covered by the Protection Order
River Tay District Advisory Committee (RTDAC)
In addition, notices stating the availability of the report to all other interested parties, prior to the Annual General Meeting, shall be published in the press. Copies shall also be provided for the Annual General Meeting.
It shall be the responsibility of all parties administrating access to fishing, and Committee Members appointed to deal with specific issues, to submit returns on a quarterly basis to the Collator, with the final returns to be received by the 30th November each year.
Approved forms shall be sent to proprietors and Angling Clubs for this purpose.
The following sections will require data:-
Description of water where fishing is available
Amount of charges
Number of available permits and number of permits sold
Actions which are carried out to improve fishings - details of stocking programmes and any environmental improvements
Additional information which should, where possible, be provided:
Details of complaints and the resolutions
Details of any legal proceedings
Monitoring reports (see Appendix 5) of Beat access and availability shall also be collated and summarised for inclusion in the report.
The document shall contain the following sections-
The Chairperson's report
The Collator's introduction and comment
The Financial statement
A minute of the previous Annual General Meeting
A list of permit outlets
Statistics compiled from data received
An appendix section