Monday, 20 January 2020

AGM 2020: SPEAKER NEWS AND UPDATES

The SGA Committee is delighted to announce that the 2020 Annual General Meeting with Grahams of Inverness will be held in the highland capital on Friday March 6th.

As ever, we have a varied programme of UK and international speakers lined up for the showpiece event at Caledonian Stadium, home to Inverness Caley Thistle FC.

We are also delighted to welcome the generous support, as Principal event sponsor, of outdoor clothing and equipment specialists, Grahams of Inverness, who have been supplying our members with shooting and fishing gear for many decades. 


Established in 1857, Grahams is a household name and go-to place for all gamekeepers, stalkers, ghillies and wildlife managers, as well as country sports enthusiasts, and the SGA is delighted to continue our association with the store and brand. Find out more about Grahams, here: https://www.grahamsonline.co.uk

With so much change potentially afoot in our profession, the 2020 AGM is set to be a key one and seats are expected to go quickly, making prompt booking essential (See the foot of this story for how to book your seat).
The Werritty review into grouse shooting (https://www.gov.scot/publications/grouse-moor-management-group-report-scottish-government/ ) is set to change the landscape for moorland keepers and the reports of SNH ( https://www.nature.scot/sites/default/files/2019-11/Publication%202019%20-%20SNH%20Assessing%20Progress%20in%20Deer%20Management.pdf ) and the appointed Deer Working Group will also bring deer issues further to the fore over the coming weeks (https://www.gov.scot/groups/deer-working-group/ ).
These issues, and more, will be the focus of SGA Chairman Alex Hogg’s keynote speech to attendees in Inverness.
There is political focus around pheasant releasing down south and, in Scotland, our famed salmon rivers are having to cope with a declining stock which threatens the fabric of our wild fisheries.
At the time of writing, the speaker line-up is still being fully finalised but already confirmed to travel from Iceland is Jon Helgi Bjornsson, a landowner with an insider insight into how the prolific salmon rivers of Iceland are continuing to hold stocks and retain anglers.
This will be of keen interest to our ghillie members and everyone with a stake in the health of our rivers.
Wild Deer Best Practice, and the need for everyone to reinvigorate it, will be the subject of a talk by SNH’s Alastair MacGugan before the day switches to two major health concerns in rural areas.
Dr Sally Mavin, Clinical Scientist at Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratory at Raigmore in Inverness will be updating the floor on new research regarding Lyme Disease and early diagnosis. (https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/scottish-lyme-disease-and-tick-borne-infections-reference-laboratory-user-manual/ ).
We then welcome Jim Hume, Convener of the National Rural Mental Health Forum with Support In Mind Scotland, who will be discussing work to support the mental health of rural workers ( https://www.ruralwellbeing.org ).
“We may yet have some additions to the speaker roster but, already, we have a varied programme and we are looking forward to being back in Inverness.
“The last time we visited the highland capital on AGM day, our members had to brave the ‘Beast from the East’ and, naturally, attendee numbers were a bit lower as a result, with the speaker programme also having to be pared back, for travel reasons.
“That said, it was still a great event with fantastic speakers and a really engaged and enthusiastic audience. It is important, as a sector, for us to get together and be able to discuss the challenges- particularly the political ones- that we are all going to face in 2020 so we are looking forward to getting feedback from the members on the day,” said SGA Vice Chairman, Peter Fraser, who has been putting together the programme for some weeks.
The member-only day will begin with registration at 9am and the usual introductory refreshments. 
Anyone wishing to attend must register their place with the SGA office on info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk or by calling 01738 587 515, to enable the staff to plan seating and catering.
Lunch will be served at the close of the speeches and members will be made aware of menu choices when booking their place.
See you in Inverness!