The River Tay Protection Order was granted on the 10th of September 1986, and brought the main river along with the tributary Rivers Almond, Braan, Lyon, Lochay, Dochart, Fillan and Connonish, along with all lochs and streams draining into the main river and the named tributaries, under the terms of the 1976 Freshwater Fisheries and Salmon Act. The committee, in April 1998, recalled all the representatives of angling clubs, riparian owners and other interested bodies, to address the published intention to revoke the Tay Order. All agreements were renegotiated and the submission documents accepted by the Scottish Office in December 1998.
The Committee prepared a management plan to oversee the working of the order, and the first annual report was published in February 2000. During 2000 the committee updated the plan with further proposals to improve the access for anglers. The co-operation of riparian owners was essential for the success of plans to improve the fishing, the habitat, and the general condition of the system.
The aim of the TLC is to have controlled access for all anglers to the waters of the River Tay and it's tributaries, accompanying lochs and reservoirs. The livelihood of landowners and other parties is part of the negotiations of any agreement, and the privacy of residents must be respected. The committee recognise the need for restrictions at certain times of the year to allow for other sporting activities to be enjoyed, and these are taken into account in discussions. The welfare of all freshwater species, and their habitat is essential to the improvement of the system for all to enjoy.
It is important to point out that all the work and the considerable time involved is voluntary, and the object is to protect all freshwater species and manage them, where they exist, for the future, and for the overall benefit of the system. At the same time the riparian owners, without whose assistance none of what is happening could be achieved, should expect the full co-operation of both the resident and visiting anglers to the River Tay, its tributaries and lochs.
In May of 2003, the new Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 2003 came into law. The Act makes it an offence to fish for FRESHWATER FISH with out the legal right or written permission, in any area covered by a Protection Order, made under the Act (Section 48).
There has been a further development in proposed alterations to angling law, with the new consultation paper and draft regulatory impact assessment, which consultation period ended early in 2006. The TLC have been fully involved with attending meetings and discussion groups, and forwarding the committee's views on how the proposals may be amended or adapted. The Aquaculture & Fisheries Act came into law on the 7th of August 2007, and this Act brings new legislation up to date and re-organises some of the clauses in the 2003 Act and brings into Law care of disease and transportation of live fish regulations.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 guarantees access to the countryside under certain conditions for groups and individuals. It does not include anglers within the legislation as individuals guaranteed access and identifies the sport and its followers as individuals specifically excluded from it.
It is important for anglers to understand this legislation as there will be occasions when access to water may require an individual to cross over a landowner's ground and if that ground is not near water then access rights can be claimed. However on approaching any water the Angler is no longer protected by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act and comes under legal requirements placed upon him under the terms of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Trespass (Scotland) Act.
Everyone has the statutory access rights established by this Act. They are the rights
a) to be on land and
b) to cross land.
These rights can only be exercised
· For recreational purposes.
· For the purposes of carrying on a relevant educational activity.
· For the purposes of carrying on, commercially or for profit, an activity which the person exercising the right could carry on otherwise than commercially or for profit.
Access Rights are not exercisable
· In a building or other structure or works, on plant or fixed machinery.
· In a caravan, tent or other place affording a person privacy or shelter.
· In the curtilage of a building which is not a house or of a group of buildings none of which is a house.
· Within a compound or other enclosure containing any such structure, works, plant or fixed machinery.
· In land contiguous to and used for the purposes of a school.
· Within a sports or playing field, or an area used for a particular recreational purpose (e.g. a clay shooting range)
· Upon land on which crops are being grown. "Crops" means plants which are cultivated for agricultural, forestry or commercial purposes, and includes grass that is being grown for hay and silage, which is at such a late stage of growth that it is likely to be damaged by the exercise of access rights.
· In relation to a house or any of the places mentioned above, allowing sufficient adjacent land to enable persons living there to have reasonable measures of privacy in that house or place and to ensure that their enjoyment of that house or place is not unreasonably disturbed.
· Access rights do not constitute a public right of passage for the purposes of the definition of "road" in section 151(1) (interpretation) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.
· The rights of access must be undertaken in a responsible manner. Responsible exercise of access rights are references to the exercise of these rights in a way which is lawful and reasonable and takes proper account of the interests of others and of the features of the land in respect of which the rights are exercised.
In determining whether access rights are exercised responsibly, a person is presumed to be exercising access rights responsibly if they are exercised
· So as not to cause unreasonable interference with any of the rights (whether access rights, rights associated with the ownership of land or any others) of any other person.
· So as not to do anything which undoes anything done by Scottish Natural Heritage.
Many anglers enjoy a fishing and camping break on the banks of a river or a loch. While the Land Reform Act acknowledges "wild" camping for walkers as part of their journey, it also places the legal responsibility upon them as described above.
Anglers camping have no such protection under The Land Reform Act and if permission for camping has not been obtained, they can be charged under The Trespass (Scotland) Act. Anglers camping on or near to water require the land owner's permission.