Calling all Loch Ken anglers – please help

Over the last few months we have been in contact with Jamie Ribbens, the senior biologist at Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT), to explore how the coarse angling sector might become involved in some work the Trust plans to carry out on Loch Ken in the near future.

The development phase for a Council-led Lottery funding proposal for various linked environmental projects in the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee catchment has now been approved. Work to finalise the whole package is still ongoing but among the items concerned is a proposal for GFT to survey the fish populations in Loch Ken and liaise with other stakeholders with the aim of compiling a fishery management plan and forming a steering group to help manage the fishery of the Loch if all parties agree this is desirable. This has support from SNH and Jamie is keen to work with the coarse angling community to develop more detailed ideas for what can be done and how best to achieve it. Needless to say he also sees a place for coarse angling interests in any management body that emerges in the longer term. This is an extremely positive development which SFCA is keen to support. It is very much in tune with the direction of the Wild Fisheries Reform agenda and I only wish we saw more like it.

The first phase of the project will be to establish a picture of the fish community and status of stocks in the loch. Some of that can – and indeed must – be done via non-lethal sample seine netting exercises, and small scale trials have recently been taking place to establish how, when and where that should be carried out. However a large part of the information required can best be collected by obtaining catch returns from the anglers who fish the loch.

This note is firstly to reassure you that if you happen to come across people from GFT undertaking sample netting on the loch there’s absolutely nothing sinister behind it; and secondly to ask you to help by getting involved in the catch returns scheme that will hopefully be launched later this year. At the moment it’s not certain how that will operate, but there may be both paper and online versions to allow you to choose the most convenient option. All information collected will be treated in strict confidence and data will not be published in a form that identifies you or your favoured fishing spots. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get back to me (ron.woods@ntlworld.com ). Alternatively you can contact Galloway Fisheries Trust direct via their website http://www.gallowayfisheriestrust.org/contact-galloway-fisheries-trust.php or by email to mail@gallowayfisheriestrust.org .

Ron Woods, Policy Officer

11th March


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