Anglers and fish farmers find common ground

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
3 July 2006, at 1:00am

UK - They used to be at each other's throats metaphorically and, on occasion, even literally. Anglers trying to catch wild fish blamed fish-farmers for ecological damage that was turning salmon and sea trout away from the rivers and sea lochs. Fish farmers, meanwhile, were quick to argue that by providing thousands of jobs in remote and fragile communities, they were economically and socially far more important than any man in waders with a rod in his hand. But through increasing dialogue, peace has been breaking out between the two interests right up the west coast of Scotland. The two sides actually can now be seen together, in the same boat, and to the benefit of both. The new found rapprochement has been driven by a scheme known as local area management agreements (AMA). There are now 13 in place from the Kyles of Bute in the south to Loch Eriboll on Sutherland's north coast, and as far west as West Loch Tarbert on Harris. Another six are under negotiation. Crucially, these local agreements between wild fish interests and major fish farming companies have led to significantly lower numbers of sea lice in the sea lochs, particularly in the critical spring period when wild juvenile salmon and sea trout migrate to sea. This achieves better marine survival of migratory wild fish and, in turn, massively increases the number of adult fish returning to their rivers. Source: The Herald