Dear Mr Reid
I work for Fish Legal in Scotland but am also a founder trustee of the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT). In this instance I am writing on behalf of SIFT for your help in reviving one of Scotland’s most important inshore fisheries. The Firth of Clyde is Britain’s largest inland sea and it has been a vital fishery resource to the people of Scotland in its long history but it now needs your help.
Inshore waters like the Firth of Clyde are warm and sheltered (comparatively that is) and can support important habitat that is vital for the survival of many fish species. Since our inshore fisheries were opened up to virtually unlimited bottom trawling and dredging in the mid eighties inshore fish stocks up and down the west coast have been decimated. The Clyde’s fish populations in particular have been dramatically altered (Those interested in more detail should take a look at MSS’s Clyde Ecosystem Review on the website noted below).
As someone who has an interest in fish, albeit the freshwater variety, we hope that you will be able to support SIFT’s campaign. Here are three good reasons why:
1. The Brotherhood of the Angle. Support fellow fishermen. Recreational sea angling used to be big business on the Firth of Clyde. Unfortunately as target fish species have declined so has this once lucrative fishery. We estimate that a recovered RSA economy could be worth as much as £10 million a year to the local Clyde economy. [There is a particular irony that whilst the Scottish Government has decided that the freshwater fisheries management structures are not fit for purpose (Wild Fisheries Review) they have done nothing to protect or develop the interests of recreational sea angling, a public fishery for which they are responsible and which could be highly economically significant to Scotland.]
2. Inshore areas are important to salmonids too. Unrestricted inshore scallop dredging has had a huge impact on the flora and fauna of inshore waters reducing its complexity and its productivity. It is hard to imagine that this has not impacted in some way on salmonid populations particularly sea trout, although there has been very little research on this subject.
3. Inshore fisheries are a public resource and should be managed in the public interest. A recovery of inshore fisheries is in the public interest and will support and strengthen vulnerable coastal communities. The decline of productivity of our inshore fisheries underwater has been mirrored by a decline of the inshore fisheries economy with a loss of income and jobs. To manage for productivity and not for decline requires measures be taken to restore the health of inshore fish populations through measures such as protection of inshore fish nursery grounds. Strangely enough the Victorian Fishery Board of Scotland were aware of the need to do this as are most other Northern European coastal states.
To pledge your support we ask that you sign our Clyde Charter. This and all the campaign information is available on our website at: http://www.revivetheclyde.org
You can also join us on our social media sites: Twitter@revivetheclyde and Facebook www.facebook.com/revivetheclyde and help spread the work and follow the campaign as it progresses.
Many thanks for your support and let me know if you have any enquiries. Are you able to spread the work among RKAA club anglers?
Robert W Younger
Fish Legal Scotland
Tel: 0131 556 4462
Fish Legal is a unique, non-profit making organisation set up to use the law to fight pollution and other damage to the water environment through the promotion of angling. Fish Legal represents its members throughout the UK and in England acts as the legal arm of the Angling Trust. www.anglingtrust.net