THE SALMON fishing season, writes Graeme Scott, officially got under way on the North-east’s rivers at the weekend and the rods are sure to be out in force over the coming weeks.
But amid the traditional trappings of the opening ceremonies this year comes a warning from police about the potential impact of wildlife crime on the region’s waterways.
They have been keen to raise awareness of the threat and officers were out and about on the Don, Deveron and Spey as the clubs cast their first lines of the season.
As part of the initiative, river crime warning and information boards have been distributed to nine of the area’s major salmon fishing rivers by water bailiffs.
The rivers are regarded as a major asset to the region, contributing millions to the economy and providing important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
However, river crime - in particular salmon poaching - is recognised as having a serious environmental and economical impact on the river and the wider community.
Poachers, who can vary from individuals to organised groups, often travel from outwith the area to ply their trade - making it even more difficult to track them down.
Police have not been without success in the recent years in disrupting poaching acitivity but they see public help as vital in cracking the poaching gangs.
Information sharing between officers and water bailiffs is a constant, but people are being urged to become more involved by reporting any crime or suspicious activity as soon as possible,
It goes without saying that more and more folk are using our rivers for fishing, water sports and riverside walks. If you see anything that doesn’t look quite right, contact the police straight away, it could make all the difference.
A TOUCHING tale from an Inverurie primary school the other day. Youngsters in P7 at Kellands raised more than £270 from a sale and opted to donate £100 to Help for Heroes (H4H), the charity formed to provide better facilities for Britain’s injured servicemen and women.
It turns out one of the children knew the family of an injured soldier and when it came to deciding which charity should get the benefit of their fundraising efforts, the pupils were unanimous that it should be H4H.
DARE I say it but could we be seeing the early signs of spring? I noticed some lambs in the fields, snowdrops have started to appear in the garden and I heard geese on the move overhead, although to be fair it was difficult to say for certain in which direction they were headed!
However. I think a bit of a reality check is needed. We are only just over mid-way through February and with the whole of March still to come winter could yet have a rather nasty sting in the tale.
It was, I admit, something of a relief to miss out on the snow which recently affected the south of the UK.