Salmon fishermen “forced to apologise” to children and canoeists


SALMON fishermen have been told to apologise amid claims they terrorised canoeists and children on a Scottish river.

Anglers were accused of driving their boats at canoes and casting their lines at children during the annual Tay Descent.

The event sees more than 400 visitors with an interest in paddle sports such as kayaking or rafting travel the stretch of the River Tay between Perth and Dunkeld.

The complaint was made during a TDSFB meeting when Chairman Bill Jack revealed a written letter of complaint.

The Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) complained after they planned their event outside the salmon fishing season.

But the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board (TDSFB) extended the season by two weeks which resulted in a clash between river users.

This complaint is the latest in a seven-year feud over who has rights to the river – last June the TDSFB even sought to take the battle to court to try and restrict rafting.

It started with the implementation of the Land Reform Act where there had been a voluntary agreement to restrict commercial rafting on the upper stretch of the 117 mile-long Tay.

But the rafting companies, whose activity is said to disturb fish, have been accused of dishonouring the arrangement.

The complaint was made during a TDSFB meeting when Chairman Bill Jack revealed a written letter of complaint.

Mr Jack has now said the minority involved in the harassment allegations should apologise.

Landowners were also warned by the SCA to remember their responsibilities during the Descent.

Speaking last November, Angus Crow, chairman of Lower Grandtully Timeshares, said: “We have a shared interest in the river and have been working through the accepted channels to hopefully reach an agreement which allows both the rafting and fishing business to flourish.

“As it is, the present system is unworkable and whilst the rafting businesses expand and improve in their profitability, the fishing interests are on their knees. Most of the fishing beats in this area are seldom fished now.

“Tenants come once and never return and one of Scotland’s heritage assets is being decimated.

“We are utterly frustrated that whilst we are prepared to accept, albeit reluctantly, the recommendations of the Local Access Forum, the rafting companies are not, and without going to court we are powerless to defend our property assets and hard won business.”