The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

            A charity registered in Scotland - RegNo:: SC039015


SSACN meeting with Mr Lochhead

A Scottish first - A Fisheries Minister prepared to meet and listen to sea anglers.

SSACN held their first ever meeting with the man at the top - Cabinet Secretary Lochhead - on Thursday. It has taken 4 years to get to this point but our general feeling following the meeting was very positive, in attendance were :

Cabinet Secretary Lochhead
SSACN - Steve Bastiman - Denis Kelly - Ian Burrett
Marine Directorate - Rob Roberts – Paul McCarthy – Ian Thomson
Tourism - John Brown

The government have received the results of the economic study for the value of Scottish RSA but they need to be ratified before being made public but apparently they show our initial desktop study which put RSA spend at £150m was reasonably accurate.

Steve opened our presentation by giving a potted history of the rise and fall of Scottish sea angling with a special mention of the days when the Clyde regularly hosted Scottish, European and even NFSA Championships because of the fantastic cod fishing. Steve then went onto to talk about the socio economic benefits and  RSA communities and Ian followed up with a presentation outlining the need to regenerate stocks, revitalise sea angling, best value management and outlined our aspirations for angling regeneration centres (ARCS).

Our impression was that Mr Lochhead was very attentive and keen to learn. He is proud of the Scotland’s developing record for constructive conservation initiatives on the commercial species and would rather use the carrot than the stick to get his ideas through. He told us quite candidly that he wasn’t going to close areas off for recreational use unless any scheme had the backing of councils, coastal forums, and local stakeholders; and to be fair he has a valid point - it was exactly the same point we made at the end of our presentation.!

After our presentation we discussed the problems of data availability. There are thousands of scientific surveys on the net about cod, haddock and whiting but no research has been carried out on the inshore stocks reachable by shore anglers; he endorsed the efforts we are making to address that and asked his civil servants from the Marine Directorate to work with us to explore additional opportunities.

We also asked a series of questions for clarification and the MD will get back to us and organise a meeting to discuss the implications sometime in the New Year. After the meeting we will be asking for feedback from as many of you as possible.

The meeting closed with quick summaries all round and we believe a common understanding that sea angling is ‘on the radar’ and although there are many issues to be addressed, we have begun the process.

Our presentation may be downloaded from here and go to the following for backup materials relating to ARCs , Best Value and planned development.

Related posts:

  1. Lochhead / SSACN meeting - updated
  2. SSACN meeting with Cabinet Minister Lochhead
  3. Mr Lochhead to meet with SSACN - updated
  4. SE - SSACN Meeting Kirkcubright
  5. Letter from Richard Lochhead - Cabinet Secretary

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