2011 RAFTS Conference underlines increasing importance of Fisheries Trusts working in partnership with public sector to deliver science-based solutions to catchment management issues

The 2011 RAFTS Conference at Battleby on 23 March will hear how Scotland’s Fisheries Trusts are forging key partnerships with both the public and voluntary sectors to deliver science-based solutions to a wide range of issues that impact on freshwater catchments and native freshwater fish stocks. Attended by 150 delegates, the Conference title is: “The developing role of the third sector: What can fisheries trusts bring to the party?” Speakers from both fisheries and public sector bodies will detail current partnerships and identify the opportunities to develop these further.

Callum Sinclair, Director of RAFTS, commented: “Over the last few years the major expansion of the network of fisheries trusts has coincided with the contraction of the public sector and the latter’s capacity to deal with fisheries issues. Increasingly fisheries trusts, which sit between the public and private sectors, are filling the void left by the contraction of the public sector. The trusts are now very much at centre stage in delivering fisheries and supporting wider environment management in Scotland. There are a number of areas where the public and private sector can work better together to improve the lot of our freshwater fish, fisheries and wider environment”.

Other key themes of the RAFTS 2011 Conference include:
  • Major impacts of invasive non-native species where RAFTS and fisheries trusts have £4.1m of work now approved and underway.
  • Contributing and leading the application of cutting edge science to management in genetics to investigate and quantify a range of contentious issues including the effectiveness of hatchery and stocking programmes and the impact of aquaculture.
  • Opportunities to improve sustainable flood management.

Dr Chris Horrill, RAFTS’ Biosecurity Planning Project Officer, said: “INNS are a massive and growing threat to our native plants, animals and habitats. RAFTS and local fisheries trusts are now taking the lead role in tackling the insidious advance of INNS. Currently we are managing projects worth over £4M to combat invasive species. Without effective bio-security, the bio-diversity of our native species will be fatally compromised. The challenge is to avoid further damage and work towards restoring habitats to their natural state. Within such an environment the native fish and other aquatic species in our rivers and lochs can take care of themselves”.

The RAFTS Conference is sponsored by legal firm Gillespie MacAndrew and property consultants and estate agents Strutt and Parker.