Thursday 5 May 2011

Salmon Policy - River Lochy, Fort William

I watched a gaelic programme on STV on Monday night called Turas A' Bhradain which dealt with the collapse of salmon stocks on the river Lochy and subsequent attempts by the fishery manager and owners to rejuvenate them.

I can't remember the actual figures but I'm sure catches in double figures were quoted for the early nineties with catches for recent years now into several thousands again with quite a few double figure fish now being caught every year lately. What struck me most was the way the fish farm owners were assisting in the recovery of salmon stocks on the river.

Richard Allen with a 21lb bar of silver 16th July 2010

The presenter and fisheries manager spoke at some length as to how this was being done and basically they had been able to reach an agreement where all the farms were treating their stocks for sea lice at the same time, helping to manage the problem in Loch Lihnne, into which the Lochy runs. They also discussed how all of the farms were being allowed to lie fallow at the same time and how they were even allowing hatchery smolts to grow on in fish farm pens before being released to the wild.

With the revenue involved in Scottish fish farming of salmon being huge, it has to be accepted that they are not going to go away but could the programme on the Lochy be the way forward for the rejuvenation of all once prolific west coast of Scotland salmon rivers and systems ?

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