Harsh pun­ish­ment

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Letters -

Most months, the let­ters pages con­tain the moans of our south­ern cousins be­rat­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment. I re­spond to David Barker of Lon­don’s let­ter con­cern­ing his find­ing dead mus­sels on the Spey, his call for the Gov­ern­ment to act and for the preda­tors re­spon­si­ble to be culled. The preda­tors in­volved, of course, al­though bipedal, are hu­man rather than avian – the per­son or per­sons fish­ing out and killing those pro­tected an­i­mals in the re­mote hope of find­ing a pearl. The low wa­ter lev­els per­haps made this task eas­ier, al­though I re­mem­ber in the past scuba gear and even a glass­bot­tomed boat be­ing used on the Tay. There­fore, higher wa­ter lev­els of­fer the mus­sels no pro­tec­tion. Pearl fish­ing was a tra­di­tional sum­mer pur­suit, of­ten of the trav­el­ling com­mu­nity, but tak­ing and de­stroy­ing fresh­wa­ter mus­sels is now a wildlife crime and should be re­ported. How­ever, I should point out that the sen­tence for any­one con­victed will not be the cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment that David Barker calls for. Dis­ap­point­ing, per­haps, but that’s the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment for you. It must have taken the per­pe­tra­tor some time to catch and kill the mus­sels and I am sur­prised that he or she wasn’t de­tected. It must have hap­pened in day­light and the Spey is well watched. How long, I won­der, could I fish with a rod be­fore I was chal­lenged? Should I give it a try and would it be a suit­able sub­ject for a fu­ture ar­ti­cle in Trout & Sal­mon? John Mcrorie, Ross-shire

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