The Annual Bailiffs Seminar, supported by ASFB and IFM, was hosted and delivered this year by the Tay District Salmon Fishery Board. Over 60 bailiffs convened at the Birnam Hotel in March to share their experiences on salmon fisheries enforcement issues and discuss the latest technological developments to assist law enforcement and protect valuable salmon and sea trout stocks.
Delegates heard from the Depute Fiscal for Tayside, Carol Whyte, who provided a valuable overview on the importance of good evidence and how to construct a solid case. Scottish Communications presented their range of the latest surveillance technology, followed by a practical demonstration of the latest imaging devices. An update on the Aquaculture & Fisheries Bill, which contains a range of provisions relating to wild salmon fishery management, was provided by Dr Alan Wells of ASFB, and delegates learned about the RAFTS Managing Interactions project, which aims to reduce the impacts of aquaculture on wild fish stocks on the West Coast.
Alan Stewart, the Tayside Police Wildlife Crime Officer delivered an amusing pre-dinner talk, followed by the Roger Barnes Memorial Award which was presented to Alan Beaton of the River Clyde, who achieved the highest mark in the 2012 Bailiffs examination.
The event was rounded off by a site visit the following day to the Tay Board’s Almondbank Kelt Reconditioning Unit, a novel project which reconditions salmon kelts so that they can continue to produce eggs for future restoration.
Brian Davidson, ASFB Operations Director, said, “We are indebted to the Tay Board for hosting the 2013 event on Tayside. The Tay Board and their dedicated enforcement team are at the forefront of many of the initiatives under discussion this year. The correct gathering and careful documentation of sound and credible evidence is crucial to successful enforcement. ASFB and IFM are committed to supporting the network of enforcement professionals in Scotland through the promotion of continuous professional development and exchange of information via the annual seminar, together with the development of practical tools, guidance and other initiatives’
There are now 347 formally qualified water bailiffs in Scotland. In 2013, 129 illegal nets were seized by water bailiffs, and 89 offences reported to the Procurator Fiscal and Police.