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Recent fisheries legislation in Scotland, such as the 2012 Aquaculture & Fisheries Act, has focussed on marine fish farms, sea fisheries and salmon fisheries. SFCA has raised concerns that action is also needed on the protection of coarse fish stocks and the way in which access for freshwater angling is regulated. We were advised that the Scottish Government would soon carry out a wide ranging review of the management of freshwater fisheries in Scotland and that this would enable us to air these issues.

The promised Review has now been announced, and will start by the end of March. It will be conducted by a Panel comprising Andrew Thin (Chair), Jane Hope and Michelle Francis, supported by a secretariat from the Scottish Government and a technical advisory group drawn from Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Institute of Fisheries Management. The full terms of reference, and some background information on the Review, the members of the Panel and the Technical Advisers, are at

Andrew Thin has been in touch with us to arrange an informal meeting with SFCA Chairman, Gus Brindle and myself in the near future. We also know that he intends to invite interested parties to “round table” discussion meetings at numerous locations across Scotland between April and June, and in addition will be issuing an open invitation in April to anyone who may wish to submit written contributions to the panel’s deliberations.

It is vital that SFCA has a clear and consistent policy line that is widely supported by our members, covers all the main issues of concern to coarse anglers, and is backed up by hard evidence of the problems we raise. The SFCA Executive Committee has therefore agreed a draft for a policy agenda document that can be used either as a written submission or a brief for SFCA member club delegates in round table meetings or other interviews which can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

Wild Fisheries Review – SFCA Policy Agenda (draft)

The draft Policy Agenda includes specific proposals and comments on issues which we believe are appropriate to the Review.

We would welcome comments and feedback on what we have drafted from members and clubs including details of any other issues that you wish us to raise.  Please send your comments (or those of your club, if appropriate) to no later than 31st March 2014 so that we have sufficient time to do any necessary redrafting.

We would also urge you, both as individuals and member clubs,

a)   to let us have detailed information (dates, places, and ideally also photos) of any recent examples of:

  • illegal nets, traps or setlines used to take coarse fish;
  • systematic pot hunting for coarse fish using ordinary fishing tackle;
  • culling of coarse fish, whether by nets etc or “catch & kill” policies by fishery owners
  • fish kills or losses among coarse fish populations resulting from drainage works or other actions to artificially alter water levels.

b)   To take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves to contribute written comments and/or attend the “round table” meetings mentioned above. We will pass on further information about these as soon as we have it.

This Review is probably the best chance we will have in a generation to influence the way coarse fish and coarse anglers are treated in Scotland. It’s crucial that we make the most of it. Please take the time to help us do that.


Ron Woods, SFCA Policy Officer



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