One of the essential roles of the Spey Fishery Board is the protection of Atlantic salmon and sea trout from illegal fishing, or poaching as it is often known. This causes serious environmental damage, but also has a significant impact upon the local economy and thereby to the rural community.
The Spey Fishery Board’s warranted Water Bailiffs operate closely with Police Scotland and work tirelessly to protect the River Spey and its tributaries from illegal fishing. This often results in arrests each year, with cases then referred to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution.
Coastal patrols between the Boar’s Head stretch of coastline and Cowhythe Head, using our commercially-coded 6.4 metre Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boat (RIB), are conducted each year. This RIB was a significant investment for the Board, but it enables us to conduct patrols along the 20 miles of coastline over which we have jurisdiction. Furthermore, our jurisdiction extends 3 nautical miles out to sea.
Numerous patrols are completed each year to deter illegal netting and to recover illegal gill nets. These nets are indiscriminate killers, sometimes taking sea birds, seals and even porpoises, as well as salmon and sea trout. Were it not for these patrols being undertaken, though, the level of illegal netting along our coastline would likely become prolific. The Spey Fishery Board is also contracted to undertake patrols for other District Salmon Fishery Boards, which also illustrates the value of pooling resources to tackle shared problems.