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As I promised in my Christmas Message, I have been in contact with LLAIA regarding the significant price increases to Coarse angling permits being introduced form 2023.  I know from huge amount of correspondence that we have received, that this is a matter of great concern for a sizable proportion of our members.  I personally share the concerns of many of you that the increase, which equates to five times the current rate of inflation, against the backdrop of the current financial climate could act as a real barrier for individuals from low-income families.  I was also particularly concerned for young anglers as the LLAIA system suggests that there is no discounted junior permit available for coarse fishing on the loch.  


I would like to be able to announce that I had managed to persuade them to overturn their decision to raise the prices but sadly, for a number of reasons that are covered below, that has not been possible.  Just before Christmas I had a long and informative discussion with the LLAIA Secretary, during which he took time to fully explain the rationale behind the increases and why they have been both necessary and of such a large percentage in one go.  He confirmed, as I already knew, that the LLAIA’s overheads for managing fishing on the Loch have all significantly increased over the past two years, and that the coarse permit prices on the Loch had not been increased since 2011 while all of their other permits and season tickets had increased at least twice in that time.  He informed me that the LLAIA had considered increasing the coarse permits in 2020 but had decided to delay this through the COVID pandemic as access to angling was so important to the mental health of many local residents. Holding the price at 2011 rates could however not continue forever.  With the cost of all inputs continuing to rise, and limited options to raise other permit prices, the LLAIA  Committee took the decision to make what they felt was a long overdue increase. He stressed however, that it was intended that these new prices would remain the same for the next few years/as long as possible. 


I accepted the financial challenges facing all organisations in the current climate and the fact that even the SFCA had been forced to make a move to digital membership cards in 2023 in order to avoid increasing the membership fees, and asked if they have considered other cost saving measures rather than simply increasing prices.  He said that the  Committee had considered a full range of options before proceeding. I then reiterated my concerns about the increases becoming a real barrier to access and participation.  Especially given that £75 for a season permit, in one lump sum, would be a big ask for many individuals in the current climate, particularly in families with a parent and child, or more than one child, who fished. I agreed that for individuals who fished the Loch on a regular basis throughout the year, say 12-15 times, £75 was not unreasonable, the issue was the upfront cost. I also informed him that I was especially concerned about the increase to the ‘Day Ticket’ price which now saw it set at the same level as stocked commercial fisheries, and asked if they had considered the impact on their income should large numbers of Day Permit anglers opt to go elsewhere rather that pay the increase price.  After all, in the current climate everyone was tightening their belts and seeking best value for money.  He accepted that this was a risk, but the Committee had felt that they had no other option.  We then had a long discussion about options to spread the cost of the season permit in order to make it more accessible.  He suggested that they could apply the same process as they used on some of their other season permits, whereby individuals bought day permits at the normal price and then retained them to offset against the cost of the season permit.  For example, if you bought 6 Day Permits up to July 2023 you could then complete and send in a Coarse Season Permit Application form , along with the 6 Day Permits you had bought and a cheque for the balance of £15, or whatever combination of day permits and payment making up to £75.  The LLAIA would then check the Day Permits to ensure that they were all purchased by the same individual and once confirmed they would process the application and send out the coarse season permit. We agreed that this seemed a good compromise, given the fact that actions had already been put in place to facilitate the published increased and that they couldn’t be reversed as this stage, and he agreed to take this proposal to the next Committee meeting in January.  The L.L.A.I.A also indicated that for “Children” i.e. persons under the age of 18years of age, there is no specific coarse day or season permit.  Instead, and in line with the L.L.A.I.A aim to encourage more youngsters into the sport, the L.L.A.I.A Childs Day Game permit at £5  covers coarse as well as game fish, It should also be noted that  a full child membership of the L.L.A.I.A is only £25 and would also cover that child angler for coarse fishing all year on the Loch as well as game fishing on all L.L.A.I.A waters.  As such there are reduced permit prices available  for young anglers.  While we were having the conversation we also discussed the need to form closer links between the LLAIA and the SFCA in order that we could be better informed about changes/issues affecting coarse angling on the Loch and other LLAIA water’s, and offer an additional mechanism for them to use to consult on coarse angling matters.  The SFCA has already agreed to co-opt a representative from the LLAIA onto the SFCA Board in a Liaison Officer capacity and we very much hope that he will be able to attend our next Board meeting in January. 


I am cognisant that some will be disappointed by this outcome but would stress that we came very late into this conversation and after the decision to raise prices had already been taken. I would urge anyone with concerns that they feel the SFCA could engage on to come to us as early as possible to give us the best opportunity to lobby on your behalf.


Gus Brindle

Chairman SFCA

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