All beats, syndicates and clubs are required to submit annual catch returns to both the Board and to Marine Scotland Science(MSS). These are used to assess how fishing and fish stocks are performing and more recently, MSS has used them to help calculate the Conservation Status of the river.
The first categorisation of the Ayr was in 2015 when MSS determined it to be a Category 3 river and required 100% catch and release to protect stocks. This was unpopular with many anglers and eventually after refining the process and taking the many concerns into account, MSS designated the river as a category 2 river for the 2017 season (with relaxed conservation measures and limited killing allowed). This was welcomed almost universally by anglers and owners.
Unfortunately, as the catch data is compiled for the 2016 season and we approach the deadline of the 31st of January for submission to Fishery Management Scotland, the Board are unable to supply a full and accurate catch return as several larger clubs and beats have failed to supply their catch data to the clerk.
In an assessment year (the Joint valuation Board are assessing rateable values in 2017) and a year when MSS will again be looking at catch returns, it is disappointing that there are any gaps in the data as these shortcomings will only work against those clubs that have already submitted their catch statistics and may lead to the river returning to a category 3 in future (with the associated mandatory catch and release policy).
Its not too late to get returns in to the Clerk (Forbes Watson) but you must act now and submit the details immediately. If anyone needs any help or guidance on how to do this for their Club or beat, please contact the Clerk at DW Shaw Solicitors (Forbes Watson or his secretary), 34A Sandgate, Ayr. 01292 265033 without delay.