Country mouse goes salmon fishing

Scottish salmon fishing must be saved.

The first Country Life Fair took place in the beautiful grounds of Fulham Palace, SW6, on two blazingly hot September days. With more than 200 stands selling everything from hand-built shotguns to bespoke rare-breed sausages, there was plenty of choice for the shoppers; donkeys, ferrets and birds of prey competed with fashion shows and cookery demonstrations for those who wanted to relax and take a break from the spending.

The fair came at the end of my annual week’s fishing on the Findhorn. Salmon fishing has been generally dreadful this year due to low water, but what was astonishing was the legacy left by Hurricane Bertha in August, which saw one of the worst floods of the century on the river. The scars were everywhere; whole woods had been ripped to pieces and rocks the size of kitchen tables sent careering downriver. This was Nature at its most fearsome and it not only killed many of the small salmon parr, which were found washed up on the banks for days afterwards, it removed many of the redds, the traditional breeding spots. Salmon is a hugely valuable part of the Scottish economy, but it’s facing a crisis from the disease associated with some salmon farms, the lack of sand eels in the ocean and, now, Nature itself. The Scottish parliament must act before the salmon becomes a mere memory.

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