Usan Fisheries (based at Montrose) have purchased two redundant fishing stations in the Deveron District known as the Aberdour and Auchmedden (also known as Gamrie) fishings. These stations are to the right of the Deveron estuary along the coast near Gardenstown. They have not put out a net at Aberdour yet, but had two nets out at Auchmeddaen (serviced from Gardenstown harbour) in early May. Following some legal complications to do with the cancellation of the Board's lease of these fishings from the previous owners, and to avoid possible court action, they agreed, at the Board's request, to suspend any fishing until June 1st. The Deveron is due to meet with Usan soon to explain the Board's conservation policies and discuss how to limit the impact to the rod fishery. Usan Fisheries now count as a Lower Proprietor in the Deveron District.
Tony Andrews, AST Chief executive commented:"It is a pity that fishery boards have not bought up all dormant nets in their districts. Netting rights are heritable assets and can be bought and sold in the same way as any freehold on the property market can be traded. The AST position is that any form of mixed stocks exploitation, where there may be a fragile population within a catchment's stock, makes it impossible to manage the stock. In such a situation there is no doubt that poor management inevitably leads to less healthy salmon and sea trout returning to that river, and ultimately may endanger populations within it.
"Where dormant nets have been left unsold, anyone is free to purchase and reactivate them which is what has happened on the coast near the Deveron estuary," added Mr Andrews. "While the law permits the practice of mixed stocks exploitation to continue, there is no reason for netting companies to reduce their activities. Opportunities to expand netting businesses exist, as has happened in Dunnett Bay in Caithness and near the Deveron estuary. The key of course is to change the law: easier said than done."