October 15th 2021

Anglers and farmers are united in a desire to help wild salmon survive.

The SSPO's Hamish MacDonell talked to Fish Farmer about this issue.

It was the angler who first introduced me to the Tweed who came up with it. We were fishing Middle Pavilion, the broad, unhurried beat that sweeps down from Galashiels to Melrose and where, under his guidance, I was about to hook a decent sea trout.

"If someone fishes, you can be sure they're alright," he said, mending the line with a flick of his wrist while making it clear that, as far as he was concerned, that was his number one rule for life. Someone who had the patience, decency and courtesy to fish had to be pretty sound away from the water too, that was his code.

It wasn't a complicated philosophy and, on that balmy May morning when everything was right with the world, it appeared to make sense. However, since I joined the farmed salmon sector, I have realised there is a dark smudge on that bucolic picture, a blind spot that some anglers have - and it comes in the shape of their attitude to fish farming.

For some on the campaigning wing of the angling fraternity, salmon farms are to blame for the loss of our wild salmon and nothing anybody says will ever convince them otherwise.

This is not the time or the space to rehash all the old arguments - they have been run and re-run far too often over the last few years to do that again. So instead, what about something new? What about the farmed and wild salmon interests working together to find out what's really happening?

READ ON IN FISH FARMER: Common purpose - Fish Farmer Magazine