Monday, 24 December 2018

NO FISH FARMS IN SALMON MIGRATION ROUTES, SAYS SGA FISHING GROUP




River workers have urged Scottish Government to protect iconic wild salmon by refusing permission for new Scottish fish farms in known wild salmon migration routes.
Members of the SGA Fishing Group are deeply concerned at the impacts sea lice outbreaks from open net farms can have on wild salmon.
Now they want government to act with urgency on two recommendations from the Rural Economy Committee’s inquiry into Scottish Aquaculture.
Cross-party MSPs recommended a ‘precautionary approach’ be taken to new fish farm applications, recognising potential impacts aquaculture operations can have on wild salmon.
As part of a package of 65 recommendations they also advocated relocating existing sites which have been proven to present problems to the marine environment and productivity.
Keeping farms away from known wild salmon migration routes is practiced in Norway.
In British Columbia, several large fish farms are to be closed over the next two years to prevent negative interactions between farmed and wild salmon.
High sea lice burdens can cause disease and mortality when wild fish pass the vicinity of pens and moving farms further offshore to areas of higher water flows can lead to improvement.
The SGA Fishing Group eventually wants to see fish farming operations moved to closed containment facilities onshore but feels better siting now would be a start.
“The SGA Fishing Group is not opposed to sustainable fish farming. It is a considerable employer in the highlands and we value lifeline jobs in remote areas.
“There is an opportunity, though, to take steps to address some of the issues between wild fish and farmed,” said SGA Fishing group member, Iain Semple.
“Careful siting of new farms and re-siting the problem ones quickly will not cure everything but these moves would be a step in the right direction. Wild fish and the fisheries that depend on them in the west have suffered and we need to tackle the issues if progress is to be made.
“Scottish Government have heard evidence, in reports from the ECCLR and REC Committees. They can steer the process for the benefit of everyone.”
As part of its review, the REC Committee asked Scottish Government to produce mapping and guidance for local authorities, so planners could decide on suitable and unsuitable sites.
Poor siting close to river estuaries and in sea lochs with poor tidal water exchange have been blamed for sea lice concentrations and accumulations of medicines and faeces from farms.
Wild fisheries in the west feel that fish farm expansion has been one of the key factors in the collapse of some local salmon stocks, through lice and disease.
There have also been a number of high profile escape incidents, with fears over interbreeding.
Wild fisheries account for 4300 FTE jobs and £80m in GVA to Scotland, according to Marine Scotland, and there is concern for ghillie jobs in the wake of severe falls in catches nationwide.
Many rivers are now subject to conservation orders such as mandatory catch-and-release, with Atlantic salmon facing pressures in the marine and coastal environment.
“Wild salmon are iconic, so are our rivers. People come here for the experience of fishing famous rivers, for our environment and the expertise of our river workers. Like fish farms, communities rely heavily on jobs and wider benefits.
“It is important steps are taken to allow both to co-exist better in future,” added Mr Semple.


Friday, 21 December 2018

NEW STOAT TRAP LEGISLATION WILL BE IN FORCE FROM 3RD JANUARY- all the latest news.

The Spring Traps Approval (Scotland) Amendment Order 2018 has been laid before the Scottish Parliament. The Order is due to come into force on 3 January 2019.

Trappers will still be able to use the following spring traps for stoats until 31 March 2020:

·         BMI Magnum 110;
·         BMI Magnum 116;
·         Fenn Vermin Trap Mark IV (Heavy Duty);
·         Fenn Vermin Trap Mark VI (Dual Purpose);
·         Kania Trap 2000;
·         Kania Trap 2500;
·         Solway Spring Trap Mk 4;
·         Solway Spring Trap Mk 6;
·         Springer No 4 Multi-purpose (Heavy Duty);
·         Springer No 6 Multi-purpose; and
·         WCS Tube Trap International.


However, as of 3 January 2019 the following spring traps will be removed from the STAO:

·         Fenn Vermin Trap Mk I
·         Fenn Vermin Trap Mark II
·         Fenn Vermin Trap Mark III
·         Imbra
·         Juby
·         Lloyd
·         Sawyer.

Here are some useful guidance notes about using new traps and the regulations surrounding their use, taken from the amended Order.

Tully Trap manufactured by or under the authority of KM Pressings Ltd, 37B Copenhagen Road, Sutton Fields Industrial Estate, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU7 0XQ, UK.



The trap is to be used only for the purpose of killing or taking stoats, weasels and rats.
The trap must be set in a natural or artificial tunnel which is suitable for minimising the chances of capturing, killing or injuring non-target species whilst not compromising the killing or taking of target species..

Goodnature A24 rat and stoat trap manufactured by or under the authority of Goodnature Limited, 4-12 Cruikshank Street, Kilbirnie 6022, Wellington, New Zealand.

The trap is to be used only for the purpose of killing stoats, rats, weasels and mice.
The trap must be set in a natural or artificial tunnel or enclosure which is suitable for minimising the chances of capturing, killing or injuring non-target species whilst not compromising the killing or taking of target species; or set at a minimum height of 30cm off the ground and entered by an artificial tunnel attached to the trap and that protrudes for a distance of no less than 70mm from the trap entrance, and which is suitable for minimising the chances of capturing, killing or injuring non-target species whilst not compromising the killing or taking of target species.

 In entry 4 (Doc 150), for the conditions in Column (2), substitute—
Where used in a closed-end tunnel configuration, the trap may be used only for the purposes of killing or taking grey squirrels, rats, stoats and weasels. Where used in a run-through configuration. The trap may be used only for the purpose of killing or taking rats, stoats and weasels, the trap must be set in a natural or artificial tunnel which is suitable for minimising the chances of capturing, killing or injuring non-target species whilst not compromising the killing or taking of target species. The tunnel may be closed-end or a run-through configuration. The tunnel must include an internal baffle arrangement that conforms to the type described in the Department of Conservation’s design specifications as set out in their trap use instructions published on the website of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture on 3 January 2019. The trap must be positioned in relation to the baffle or baffles and to the side of the tunnel so that it conforms with those specifications..

In entry 5 (Doc 200 and Doc 250), for the conditions in Column (2), substitute—

Where used in a closed-end tunnel configuration, the trap may only be used for the purpose of killing or taking grey squirrels, mink, rats, stoats and weasels. Where used in a run-through configuration, the trap may be used only for the purpose of killing or taking rats, stoats and weasels. The trap must be set in a natural or artificial tunnel which is suitable for minimising the chances of capturing, killing or injuring non-target species whilst not compromising the killing or taking of target species. The tunnel may be closed-end or a run-through configuration. The tunnel must include an internal baffle arrangement that conforms to the type described in the Department of Conservation’s design specifications as set out in their trap use instructions published on the website of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture on 3 January 2019. The trap must be positioned in relation to the baffle or baffles and to the side of the tunnel so that it conforms with those specifications.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

2018 SGA POLARIS ATV WINNER ANNOUNCED



The SGA is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2018 SGA Polaris ATV raffle is highland member, Bruce MacGillivray.

The annual raffle proved again to be a major hit with members, supporters and the public who purchased tickets at Scone and Moy shows, through the magazine, office and the online Safeshop https://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/safeshop/ 

The draw took place in the SGA HQ in Perth, with member Agnes Kippen pulling out the winning ticket. Mr MacGillivray has been notified of his win and the keys for the Polaris Sportsman 570 will be officially handed over in the New Year.

Well done Bruce, from all at the SGA. A surprise pre-festive gift.

And thanks to all who purchased tickets and supported the SGA. It is very much appreciated by everyone at the organisation.





National Firearms and Explosives Licensing Firearm Certificate Holders – Health and Wellbeing



National Firearms and Explosives Licensing
Firearm Certificate Holders – Health and Wellbeing

Police Scotland’s priority is to ensure public safety, operate a firearms licensing process that delivers a quality service to certificate holders across our diverse communities in Scotland and keep people safe. Our firearms community currently includes almost 51,000 firearm and shotgun certificate holders and around 22,000 air weapon certificate holders. We work very closely with our key partners and colleagues in the Scottish Government, Home Office and shooting organisations to create a shooting environment that is safe, compliant with firearms legislation and does not disadvantage our certificate holders.

An important benefit of partnership working is that together we are committed to safeguarding the welfare of certificate holders by being alert to and identifying any concerns early. You will be aware that GPs now share information with us confidentially, regarding any medical concerns they may have regarding their patients who hold firearms, and this helps to keep certificate holders and others safe. Police and shooting organisations rely on honest, responsible certificate holders to inform police if they are diagnosed with or treated for any relevant medical condition. This forms part of the declaration signed by applicants when they apply for a firearm or shotgun licence.           
          
Part of our ongoing prevention work is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our certificate holders, by intervening early where there are any concerns. Unfortunately we often find out about problems that they are experiencing in their lives when it is too late, and sometimes following tragic circumstances. We need communities to inform the police of any concerns that they have about their own or other certificate holders’ welfare, even if this is a situation that may affect someone’s ability to safely possess guns at that time. These are often temporary situations and can be as a result of a marriage breakdown, employment challenges, bereavement, physical or mental illness, alcohol or substance misuse, farming issues, financial difficulties or anything else at all that may have a negative impact on a person’s wellbeing.     

Police Scotland are working in partnership with all of our key partners across the shooting organisations as we realise that certificate holders and their families and friends may be reluctant to speak to police and raise concerns, for fear of having their guns removed. Together we want to reassure the shooting community that any action taken will follow engagement with your GP, if a medical concern is identified, and discussion with the certificate holder and will be proportionate, based on risk and take cognisance of all the circumstances.

We are already frequently contacted by responsible certificate holders and their families with concerns about their loved ones and people regularly volunteer to relinquish their firearms until such time as any issue has resolved itself or we have received an assurance from their GP that they are not a danger to themselves or others. Police Scotland encourage this proactive responsible approach and appreciate that we could be dealing with working farmers for example whose livelihoods may be affected so we will endeavour to return firearms as soon as possible. We will also consider other measures such as enhanced security, remote storage or temporarily sharing guns with other certificate holders.
If you have any health concerns regarding yourself as a certificate holder or someone else who holds or has applied for a firearm, shotgun or air weapon   certificate, please call your GP, NHS 24 or 999 in an emergency, as appropriate.

If you are a member of a shooting organisation then you may wish to contact them to discuss any concerns or you can call Police Scotland on 101 or report a concern anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.