Scientific Research Versus Common Sense
By Jock Monteith 9th March 2020
We are such an interfering & hypocritical species it's no wonder planet earth and its divisive human populations are in so much turmoil. At what point did the big man upstairs ask us to to stick our ignorant noses into his planetary designs and wonderful wildlife assets!
Man Made Issues Are Easier To Fix
Wild Atlantic salmon populations across the world have been diminishing for decades for multiple reasons however the 'man made' issues unquestionably far outweigh the scientific ones. These 'man made' issues are also the ones we can address as fixing ongoing global fluctuations in oceanic temperatures (if indeed factual) are way beyond our ability and remit. With that hard fact in mind why not just introduce 'common sense' back into the management of the wild Atlantic salmon and wind our scientific time wasting 'money sapping' necks back in to where they truly belong!
We've Altered The Ecology Of Scotland
Our species has allowed many things to become imbalanced and the rivers of Scotland are a great example of this. Look at the long term effects of commercial forestation and how huge areas of the Scottish hills have lost their ability to retain & slowly release water and how that negatively impacts riverbeds that salmon are so dependent upon via excessive sedimentation movement during periods of heavy rainfall. Look at agricultural crop spraying and where cattle are often freely allowed to the riverside causing erosion and riverbank failure issues. Look at the hydro electric schemes and how they have 'choked' the ability of many Scottish rivers to naturally 'breath' and replenish during flood conditions the very gravel beds that are vital for salmon reproduction.
Cut Out The Waffle And Get Real
Take these basic above issues and ask where were the scientists with their God preaching lectures and waffling egotistical guesswork to put the block on the above ongoing ecological destruction! Where were the scientists to stop Scotland's magnificent wild brown trout fisheries being invaded by the rainbow trout infestation that assaulted Scotland in the 70's. Where where these 'white coats' at the birth and ongoing support of 'aquaculture' that completely destroyed the West's wild salmonoid populations and are now obviously replicating their destructiveness on the North East coast. Where were the scientists when the reintroduction of an 'invasive' beaver species was being 'master minded' and why were our native otter populations not given consideration knowing fine well they are protected and were never ever going to gel too well together which has been the case as more & more otter/beaver fight videos are frequently posted on social media. What about the otter holt 'evictions' the beavers have caused that the scientists haven't yet conveniently mentioned!
The River Tay's Predatory Imbalance
Take the River Tay for example where there's massive & completely unchecked 'in-river' predation going on via (& in priority) 'huge' predatory wild brown trout juvenile salmon killing machines that hunt 'highly effectively' through each night, hundreds (if not now thousands) of pairs of (invasive) saw billed ducks which not only consume unquantifiable masses of salmon fry, parr & smolts through daylight hours but death sentence hundreds of thousand of additional juvenile salmon 'escapees' via injury damage which kills them when they try to migrate to salt water and our scientists still hide behind the 'smoke screen' that we're sending enough juveniles to sea even though they cannot factually prove that. Hatchery operations that are geared to artificially plant out eggs that a hen salmon is better placed to decide the location of or planting out young fry subjecting them to a 2 year exposure to the above 'deadly' predation have no chance of surviving river life is always going to be a complete waste of time and highly valuable resources.
Show Equal Consideration For Atlantic Salmon
Science is wonderful but when the human brain with its large ego is applied it's very easy to 'over think' things to justify the cost of that scientific research. Mother Nature simply tracks back to the Sun and beyond and planet earth is simply one big gigantic 'work in progress' and always has been since the big bang! To counteract these on-going planetary fluctuations wild Atlantic salmon need a boost from time to time if their survival and commercial angling viability is to be maintained and developed for the benefit of the species and for Scotland. If you've taken 'national' responsibility as a river board official the time for waffle is well and truly over. Don't mess about with meaningless eyed ova or fry hatchery outputs or keep blaming oceanic issue that have always been present as now is the time to take matters by the scruff of the neck and give this amazing species a 'proven' helping hand with the assets and ongoing riparian owner rate revenue funding you receive annually. Prioritisation of how these funds are spent should be a top consideration.
Has Science Been Compromised
Personally I'm starting to believe that this new narrative controlling 'science based evidence' theme is merely a deceptive tool which enables the powers that be to stay on track to crash this wonderful wild resource for whatever underlying motives they have in store for us as its done a pretty good job to date! If the scientists have been bought off then nothing of merit is ever going to be flagged up and while science (if accurate) never seems to result in any effective actions in fact quite the opposite has been occurring in this industry with the recent suggested closing down of wild salmon hatcheries being Marine Scotland's latest nonsense. As a professional ghillie I've caught returning adult fin clipped hatchery stock on a few occasions derived from 'small' hatchery smolt release numbers which proves to me the concept works so if 'in-river' predation cannot be kept in check (not going to happen) then hatcheries are vital to maintain viable juvenile stock numbers as long as they are taken to 'sea ready' smolt stage. The latest suspected science based 'smoke screen' is that our East coast river smolts head East or North East when they reach the sea therefore not aligning on a direct collision course with the ever expanding 'aquapoisoning' fish farms that are rapidly expanding off Orkney & Shetland. So now after all these decades of scientific research we learn that our juveniles head off in the direction of Norway en-route to the Faroe Isles & Greenland yet as adults they take a different East Coast coastal route home where they were once commercially netted (aye right!). With the ever growing resistance against the ecologically destructive 'aquapoisoning' industry it looks to me like our scientists and salmon conservation quangos could have been compromised and if you were a 'big doe' commercial salmon farming 'con'glomerate you'd likely have tried the same!