WILD FISHERIES REFORM – CONSULTATION LAUNCHED
The latest next stage in the Wild Fisheries Reform programme (WFR) started on 8th February with the publication of a Scottish Government consultation paper setting out proposals for major changes to Scottish freshwater fisheries legislation, for the shape and scale of the new fisheries management organisations (FMOs) to be created in support of WFR, and for a draft national Wild Fisheries Strategy. I would strongly encourage you to read the paper, which can be found at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/wild-fisheries-reform-team/draft-wild-fisheries-strategy .
The proposals in the consultation have been developed through a highly participative process in which SFCA has been actively involved at all stages. It contains a great deal which is benign from the coarse angling perspective, in particular some changes to the law that will help to address our long standing concerns over the lack of a level playing field in the law protecting coarse fish and coarse fisheries.
SFCA will respond in detail with the aim of promoting coarse anglers’ interests as far as possible. In the next week or two I’ll put a brief outline of our proposed position onto the SFCA website and social media feeds, and will invite clubs and individual coarse anglers to comment and offer their own suggestions. Once people have had the chance to get back to me (I’m afraid there will only be a short deadline for that) I’ll draft a full response for agreement by the SFCA Committee before submitting that to the Scottish Government. On the basis of past experience it’s likely that we will also be invited to give oral evidence to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee at the Scottish Parliament, though this might be some months after the deadline for written responses, which is 8th May.
The proposals in the consultation paper represent a real game-changer for Scottish coarse angling. We should all make the best of this opportunity not only by contributing views to the SFCA response but also by replying individually. You genuinely can make a difference – typically only a couple of hundred replies are received to consultations like this, so even if just 10% of SFCA members (as well as our member clubs, of course) submit responses our voice will be substantially stronger.
Please take a little of your time to read the material I’ve mentioned above and comment by email to email@example.com, or on the SFCA Facebook page. We need your input and support.
Ron Woods, Policy Officer