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After a gap of several weeks, developments are now starting to emerge in relation to the Wild Fisheries Review.

SFCA has been called to give oral evidence about the Review proposals to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) Committee at the Scottish Parliament on 25th Feb. We expect that there will also be an invitation to submit written comments sometime in the Spring, and in addition it seems likely that there will be meetings between Marine Scotland team and interested stakeholder bodies including ourselves. Some of the Review proposals would require new or amended primary legislation, so the next step after that consultative process will no doubt be to put a Bill before the Scottish Parliament, although as yet we don’t know when this will happen.

For the time being we have gone through the WFR Recommendations and put together the document, ‘WFR Recommendations – SFCA Draft Policy Line‘, which represents the line the SFCA Committee believes we should take on each item.  Among other things, the purpose of this is to give individual members, member clubs and others with an interest in Scottish coarse angling the opportunity to comment on the line we are planning to take, and to give us confidence that we are reflecting their views.

The basic message we are seeking to put forward is one we have pursued over many years of consultations and other exercises – protect the fish, extend sustainable access, and give coarse angling interests a place as of right at the relevant decision-making bodies. We have made some progress on this agenda in the past, but much more is needed, especially in relation to protecting coarse fish populations. Let’s hope we make further substantial advances this time.

We would be grateful if you can read the Draft Policy Line through and let us have your comments (to at your earliest convenience? If you wish to refer to the full text of the Review report you can find it here .

One particular threat to current stocks of coarse fish in Scotland – especially pike – is the increase over recent years in illegal netting & trapping, and other forms of indiscriminate pot hunting. It is especially important that we assemble as much evidence as possible of this kind of activity to put to the legislators. Please help by sending (to any information you can – ideally in the form of photographs and/or dates & details of specific incidents.

Ron Woods, SFCA Policy Officer

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