The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) held its Annual General Meeting at Perth Racecourse on 15th November. Alan Wells, Policy and Planning Director of ASFB, and Brian Davidson, Operations Director of ASFB, detailed the refinement of policy and developments in a political context in a number of policy areas, including aquaculture, mixed stocks fisheries and renewables.

In addition, progress in finalising a Code of Good Governance for fishery boards was outlined and, the importance of adhering to best practice in activities carried out by boards and the need to communicate effectively the vital role in river management undertaken by boards was also emphasised.

An important new special project was announced for 2012. ASFB will develop a dedicated website highlighting the wealth of good value salmon fishing available in Scotland – with the intention of negating the common perception that access to salmon fishing is the preserve of the privileged.

The AGM marked the standing down of Lord Nickson as President of ASFB after 15 years service. His achievements include chairing the Scottish Salmon Strategy Task Force, which reported in 1997, implementing many of its recommendations leading to several progressive developments in salmon fishery management, and presiding, following reviews, over the modernisation of ASFB. Alan Williams, Chairman of ASFB, said: “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Lord Nickson for his leadership, commitment and time given freely to the Association as President since 1996. The Association, and the fishery boards it represents, have evolved significantly in this time, and the Association has been steered skilfully through a variety of issues and challenges since then. Lord Nickson’s contribution to this process has been immense”.

ASFB’s new President is Andrew Douglas-Home, Chairman of the River Tweed Commission.

Another long-serving office-bearer of the Association, Sir Robert Clerk, has also retired. He represented the Spey Board for many years, before taking on the role of Chairman from 1989 to 1995 and then the role of Vice President from 1995 to present. Alan Williams commented: “Robert was a good friend to the Association and served on various internal ASFB working groups as well as contributing a great deal of time to dealing with Government and other agencies on a wide range of salmon matters. He has worked tirelessly behind the scenes on ASFB’s behalf”.

Andrew Wallace, ASFB’s Managing Director since 1999, has relinquished this position, becoming Chairman of RAFTS in early 2011. Alan Williams commented: “Andrew worked indefatigably for ASFB and pushed through many progressive and important changes and initiatives with great verve during his 12-year tenure. ASFB is indebted to Andrew for the huge contribution to salmon fisheries management he has made, and ASFB will continue to work closely with him and RAFTS across a range of areas”.

Jim Henderson, Director of the Nith District Salmon Fishery Board, and Nick Yonge, Clerk to the River Tweed Commission, have been appointed to the ASFB Executive Committee. Andrew Wallace, as Chairman of RAFTS, also sits on the ASFB Executive Committee.