Views on this discussion forum

This on-line discussion forum will conclude at close of business on Wednesday 29th July. Scottish Government, Marine Scotland instituted this forum to enable interested parties to engage with each other on the proposal to bring forward a Kill licence and associated carcass tagging scheme. We created 6 idea boxes which are listed at the end of the home page introduction. Thereafter people were able to post comments on these or to create new idea boxes.

 

We very much appreciate people taking the time to engage in this way and we will be taking these ideas and comments in to account when the 28 day period for representations or objections to the proposal concludes.

 

We would welcome your views on the following:

 

  • Has the on-line forum worked as a basis for sharing your views with others?

 

  • Do you think it is a medium that we should use in future?.

 

  • How do you think the running of this on-line discussion forum could have been improved?  What worked well?

 

  • Do you think contributors responded to the specific proposal and the questions asked?

 

  • Any other comments?

 

Why the contribution is important

It is important to get feedback from participants in order to evaluate the usefulnes of using this medium to provide information and enable people to contribute.

by marinescotland2 on July 28, 2015 at 04:33PM

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Comments

  • Posted by Scottishangler July 28, 2015 at 17:29

    We cannot yet tell whether or not this forum has worked. It can only be deemed to have worked if the opinions given are taken into account by the decision makers, those responsible for implementing any reform of the current system of fisheries management. If the opinions voiced, many strongly held and clearly and persuasively stated, are ignored, then the process will have been a waste of time for all involved.

    If opinions given in such a medium are to be taken into account and seriously considered by government in their deliberations, then yes, they should be used more widely in future. This kind of online medium is much more accessible than the consultation process we have seen on this matter of fisheries reform. Forums of this type should be introduced, however, in a more timely manner, not after the major decisions appear to have been made (perhaps we should reserve judgement on that one). It is a pity that this forum was not opened in 2014, at the very start of the review process.

    Given the very limited time available, contributors appear to have responded well to a fairly restricted range of topics and, more importantly perhaps, have opened dialogue on related topics which are of most public concern.

  • Posted by rivermanager July 28, 2015 at 17:40

    The devil lies in the detail. Too many of the current proposals put up at the start of this forum by MS say that further details will appear 'in due course'(a lack of specific information about charges for example probably being the most glaring omission, but there are others as well). As many comments on the forum will confirm, this leaves the impression that either we are asked to comment on half a proposal that has perhaps not been properly thought through, or that there are things that we not being told.
    The success or otherwise of this means of consulting through an online forum will be judged when the final proposals appear and whether some of the comments by experienced individuals on the ground are taken into account. This will demonstrate whether this exercise has been a genuine attempt to form policy from a distillation of a wide range of local experience or whether it has simply been a box-ticking 'democratic' exercise.
  • Posted by devronmac July 29, 2015 at 09:15

    I concur with both the contributors above. Well put.
    More positive and constructive responses from Marine Scotland would have been helpful i.e a confirmation that some of the points raised here have considerably more merit than they have been allowed so far.
  • Posted by scaredforsalmon July 29, 2015 at 10:55

    I agree with the above comments, I have serious doubts though as to the motives, as has been said it smacks of box ticking. The fact that we are being asked if this form of communication has worked and to what level and not if we feel we have been heard and any suggestions and comments will be acted upon, would suggest that these answers would be submitted to some EU commission as evidence that we have been given the opportunity to comment. If the decision makers have the guts and balls to postpone all final decisions and make a realistic decent job of it then it should not have to be re-visited at huge expence both monetarily and conservation wise for the next 5-10 years. Make a rushed job at your own peril and see the demise of salmon, seatrout, associations and freely given river conservation.
  • Posted by Piscator July 29, 2015 at 12:38

    This forum idea is potentially a very good way of really getting into issues of concern.

    It would have been much better if Marine Scotland had interacted more, clarifying issues where necessary and helping to keep the focus on the questions posed as these things are renown for drifting off into tangential issues. With that in mind, I would still value clarification on the following issues posted earlier.

    1) Where you say
    "In practice this will mean that even if there is a harvestable surplus, any licence will not be for more than the previous 5 year average of salmon killed in the SAC – so the licence would be for whichever is the lower - the harvestable surplus or the 5 year average.
    "My reading of this is that even if salmon abundance increases the effect will be that the number of salmon that can be killed will progressively reduce over time. Correct?
    If your licence is never higher than the previous 5 year average then that average can never rise even if fish numbers rise markedly. Every time there is one or two bad years and the average falls the licence will then fall, never to rise again. Will the end result then be no effective licence?

    2) By a sliding scale do you mean that the more tags you apply for the less you pay per tag or is it the other way around?

    3) will it be the case that given the exercise will largely be conducted for the whole country irrespective of who applies, the cost of that will basically be split between all the applicants? So if more people apply it will cost each less and vice versa?

    4) You said that "To be clear, it is intended that applications would be considered from fisheries/proprietors as opposed to individual anglers" but Lockhart also mentioned "by anyone having the permission of the owner/proprietor". Can you explain who exactly the latter might be?

    5) Can you also tell us what the benchmark for assessing harvestable surplus will be? i.e. what reference are the numbers of returning salmon going to be compared to? Is it going to be the number of salmon considered to be required to meet a conservation limit / spawning target or similar?

    6) Also when you say "provisional allocations to each fishery within these areas, based on their average catch over the same 5 year period" do you mean each beat's total catch (released plus killed) or just killed?
  • Posted by tweedfisher July 29, 2015 at 13:58

    I also would agree with all the points raised by the previous respondents.

    I do feel, that this on line forum has been useful and should definitely be used again for further consultation, however, it is unfortunate that this medium was not available at the very start of the consultation process. I know many anglers who did not submit a reply to the original consultation as they could not make head nor tail of the questions. "They appear to have all been written in Government speak" was one complaint.

    If this forum had been better advertised and easier to locate without a link, I am certain, that there would have been significantly more response from anglers. Also, only running this for seven days during peak holiday season does not give the best impression. It is certainly understandable, why some might be left thinking, that the government is merely going through the motions.

    In general, I think contributors kept to the main topics, however, is is abundantly clear from the responses, that the majority feel extremely frustrated, that the most significant threats to Atlantic Salmon in Scotland (aquaculture and predation) are being ignored and instead anglers who pose the least threat are being unnecessarily penalised. Many are understandably very angry, as salmon conservation is now very important to all anglers and to not be trusted to manage and protect the very fish they are so passionate about is deeply insulting.

    The true test will ultimately be, whether or not, Marine Scotland and the Scottish Government, are prepared to listen to all the well reasoned and logical arguments put forward. Rushing this legislation through in its current form, would clearly demonstrate that they are not.

    I would urge the final decision makers to postpone the implementation this legislation, until after the full Wild Fisheries Reform is complete and fully operational, and then, only if deemed absolutely necessary using scientific evidence to support it. The proposed banning of mixed stock netting and the current protection of spring salmon should alleviate the main concerns from Europe. Then, by merely issuing a directive to current river boards, RTC, river managers or new FMO's on conservation and harvestable surplus killing, with the option to intervene, if these responsible bodies were clearly not following that directive, would surely, still demonstrate responsible management of Salmon fisheries in Scotland.
  • Posted by boabs55 July 29, 2015 at 20:03

    A lot of good common sense spoken on here . These FMO's when formed who is going to be on them from what ive heard not the local people who are on Fishery Boards but a whole load of Govt appointed ones . Sounds like a load of Quango's to me and we all know how good they are!!! At one fell swoop they will end fishing and also oversee the end of wild fish
  • Posted by Riverman July 29, 2015 at 20:48

    This comment has been removed by a moderator.

  • Posted by Salmon_Fisher July 29, 2015 at 22:42

    As said above, time will tell. I work in IT but I don't like the interface, a bit clunky tbh. However that is window dressing, the test of the consultation will be determined by the degree it shapes legislation.

    Right now I'm not seeing many positive comments in favour of this and I've not heard any on the river bank either. Barring those myopic folk with an agenda in some 'conservation' organisations I can't think of anyone except the WFR gang who DO think this is a good idea.

    Yet the train rolls on and we're still going to get the legislation. Trying to conserve roughly 20% of rod caught Salmon who in turn represent at most 25% of the population with some badly targeted and poorly founded laws is not a good idea in anyone's book.
  • Posted by Ayrshirecast July 29, 2015 at 23:52

    Rivermans final paragraph mirrors what I'm hearing from many anglers acoss Ayrshire. I suspect the new proposals for catch and release will be unworkable as there appear to be little if any enthusiasm for it amongst the everyday angler. If bailing isn't fully funded, then how on earth can the Government expect this to be infected by a handful of volunteer bailiffs? I expect as confrontation increases then the volunteer bailiffs will be barded to motivate than ever and the poachers will have won.
     
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