Friday, 22 April 2016

SGA FISHING GROUP- THANK YOU FROM CHAIRMAN

Attendees at the SGA Fishing Group meeting in Perth.

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg would like to thank all participants who attended the SGA Fishing Group meeting last night (April 21st) at the SGA office in Perth.
There were introductory talks from Alex, representative Duncan Ferguson, and SGA Fishing Group Ambassador Charlie Whelan before the meeting moved onto fisheries reform and future group campaigns.
The attendance was excellent, with people coming from as far as the Isle of Mull, despite it being a busy time for all on the rivers. There is much important work to do and now a clear plan for moving forward.

The group would like to thank all those who put their names forward for stakeholder group cover within the Wild Fisheries Reform process, appreciating that, by pooling resources, busy people can still achieve. For those who could not make it, we would still like to hear from anyone who may be interested in sitting as an SGA Fishing Group representative on the Wild Fisheries Reform working group addressing Ghillie and Bailiff Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The idea is to avoid time-onerous commitments, so sharing work will be the way forward. The more people we have willing to do a bit to help the cause, the more success and impact we will have with the time and talents at our disposal. If you want to know more about the group or lend your knowledge and experience to the above working group, contact the office on carol@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk

At the meeting it was agreed the group will come together four times per year and that the meetings would move around the country to give everyone an equal chance to attend. It was also agreed that a forum will be established where all river workers represented within the group will be given the chance to air their views equally and freely on all group matters- at any time- in order to agree common positions and SGA Fishing Group campaign objectives. Meeting dates and venues can also be decided here, when this forum is set up (everyone will be informed when this is done and invites sent out).

Much progress was made on improvements to the SGA Fishing Group Draft response to the Scottish Government Wild Fisheries Bill consultation. Areas of particular concern were around funding and assets, enforcement accountability and how science will be used within any new structure.
These refinements will be added in the coming days and a final draft published, here. The link to the first draft (without additions from last night) is now corrected and can be viewed, here: http://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2016/04/sga-fishing-groups-draft-of-wild.html
(apologies for error in first news story- now corrected).

Should anyone still wish to feed into this process ahead of the deadline of May 2nd, please contact the office on carol@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk
Thanks to those who have done so, already. Your input is vital.

The attendees also set the agenda for moving forward beyond the reform process, highlighting political activity, in particular, which will be put in place following the Scottish elections next month.
One of the principal shared concerns was how we get future generations on the riverbank to ensure an industry- which currently brings around £110m to Scotland- is sustained, including the jobs that go with it.

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: "It was great to see the passion, commitment and the combined knowledge of everyone in the room last night. I'd like to thank everyone for taking the time to attend.
"As soon as the group was formed last year, it was heads down and straight into Wild Fisheries reform. Last night was the first opportunity to draw breath, get everyone together and look at the wider issues affecting river workers and angling in Scotland today. It is clear there is more than enough knowledge and experience in the group to make a difference and we would encourage more to come on board and strengthen the group going forward."

If you would like to join the SGA Fishing Group or find out more, contact the office on 01738 587 515.




Wednesday, 20 April 2016

GAMEKEEPERS BACK DOGS ON LEADS IN BREEDING SEASON

Threatened woodland species such as Capercaillie will require good breeding seasons if they are to recover.

Gamekeepers have backed a national park's recommendation that owners keep dogs on leads during the breeding season, believing this should be extended to other national parks.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) argued during debates regarding the 2003 'right to roam' legislation that dogs being allowed to run free during the breeding season could cause problems for wildlife.
Now with ground-nesting species such as Curlew and Dotterel added to the red list last year and woodland birds such as Capercaillie critical, the SGA has backed the Cairngorms National Park Authority's stance that owners keep dogs on leads.
Last week, the CNPA urged park users in the Cairngorms to keep their pets leashed during Spring and into the summer months, with birds sitting on eggs or with young during those times.
The Cairngorms contains 80 per cent of the country's remaining Capercaillie which are highly vulnerable to poor weather, predation and disturbance at breeding time.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 does not make a lead compulsory for dogs but owners have a responsibility to keep them under close control, or on a short lead.
Now the SGA has encouraged other national parks to follow suit by recommending a similar sensible approach to give threatened wildlife a chance.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: "This is not about banning dogs or denying anyone access but, with some of our ground-nesting birds in real danger, there are sensible steps that can be taken by everyone and we feel the Cairngorms National Park Authority's message is a responsible one that could be followed by others.
"As an organisation which represents 5300 members that are managing land for a living, we argued for two years that dogs should be on a lead from March to July because we could see what could happen for birds. Instead, the term 'close control' went into the final 'right to roam' Bill back in 2003.
"Other European countries have progressive access laws but still would not allow dogs to run freely during a critical time for wildlife. There is enough pressure as it is today on many ground-nesting species and I am sure considerate walkers and other countryside users would see sense in this during the breeding window.
"It is possible that designated dog-walking areas, away from breeding sites, could be created where dogs could be allowed off the lead and to run and maybe that is something that needs to be looked at again."
Last December's Birds of Conservation Concern report showed there are now more red listed species in Scotland than ever before.
Twelve farmland species, 12 upland birds and 16 woodland birds are on the list and will require good breeding seasons if their numbers are to climb again.
In March Police Scotland and The National Farmers Union mounted a joint initiative to remind dog owners of their responsibilities under the Access Code after the highest incidence of livestock worrying in six years (133 cases).

Friday, 15 April 2016

SGA FISHING GROUP'S DRAFT OF WILD FISHERIES BILL CONSULTATION


The SGA Fishing Group has published its initial draft of the consultation on a Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill, which is due for submission on May 2nd, 2016.

We are now inviting SGA Fishing Group members- and river workers currently not yet members of the group- to comment on the draft and suggest further refinements ahead of the deadline.
We would also encourage individual members to send their own personal response to the consultation ahead of the deadline.

The consultation (amongst other things) will be discussed briefly at the SGA Fishing Group meeting at the SGA office in Perth this Thursday (21st April) at 7.30pm. Attendees can bring ideas with them for discussion, along with campaign issues they would like to see the SGA Fishing group advancing  in Parliament and in the media in the coming months.

Please see the SGA Fishing Group consultation draft, here: http://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/docs/Fisheries-Draft.pdf

This should be read alongside the Scottish Government's consultation document, which can be downloaded from the Related Documents section (first item), here: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/wild-fisheries-reform-team/draft-wild-fisheries-strategy

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg, SGA Fishing Group Ambassador Charlie Whelan and members of the group look forward to welcoming attendees to Thursday's meeting.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Transportation of Ammunition

The SGA are currently aware of an issue of the transportation of rifle ammunition with carries, the Gun Trade Association is currently in talks to try and resolve this and some ammunition companies have put short term measures in place to avoid to many delays in deliveries of ammunition.

We will of course update you when we know more.