According to CFA secretary, Archie Macfarlane, recent scientific research and a fishing trial conducted on behalf of Marine Scotland produced catches of mature cod, along with other fish species, including haddock and hake.
Rather than give any form of estimate of the likely biomass or numbers of mature examples of those species, the largely misinterpreted Marine Scotland scientific study which revealed that the Clyde has the largest biomass of fish since the 1940s was quoted.
What that headline didn’t make clear was that that biomass comprised mainly pin whiting around 4 inches in length.
Backing that up with a conclusion that as just four fish species made up 95% of the biomass of Clyde between 1996 and 2004 increased to eight between 2005-2009 with the proportion of whiting falling possibly indicated that an enhanced overall ecosystem balance of some kind is now happening.
What wasn’t stated though was that the 95% pin whiting had become 72%; equally weren’t the CFA and government appalled at that time by the fact there were only 4 species ? didn’t they see something had to be done ? Was everyone involved in denial ? The charts below, from Marine Scotland, give a far better view of what was going on.
But he did go on to say ‘Of course, the CFA are not saying that everything is rosy in the Clyde – far from it – and they do recognise that much more work needs to be done to further enhance the marine environment of the Firth for all stakeholders yet demanding any management measures need to protect the livelihoods of commercial fishermen and their coastal communities.
Just a pity that over the years, the CFA and the local IFG have opposed all efforts to involve sea angling representatives or introduce measures to help save the sport whilst ignoring the impact on those sectors reliant on sea angling which cost significant job losses in those very communities.
So let the debate be based on fact, but that means by all parties – any angler who has fished the west coast for more that 20 years has witnessed it’s severe decline, just a pity that the governments and commercial sector organisations during that period appear to have turned a blind eye to what was happening.