Source: Fly Fishing & Fly Tying

Fly Fishing & Fly Tying report that: Callum Sinclair, Director of Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland (RAFTS), has resigned from the organisation and is to leave the post in November to take up a new post with The Conservation Volunteers.

Mr Sinclair was involved in RAFTS’ Managing Interactions Aquaculture Project (MIAP), a programme of sea trout post smolt sampling and monitoring to assess lice loads on these fish on the west coast and in relation to fish farm locations. The map produced by the organisation has still not been revealed to the general public, despite being scheduled to be published in March. It was shown to the Wester Ross Atlantic Salmon Fishery Board in April.

RAFTS has given no reason for Mr Sinclair’s departure. However, his resignation comes only weeks after it was discovered through a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government that while Marine Scotland has financially supported RAFTS to produce its locational map, Marine Scotland nevertheless had no intention of including it in its Marine Spatial Planning.

In other words, RAFTS was given £400,000 of public money to keep it busy (and quiet) for a few years, the output of which will never reach national policy – and anglers and the wild fish lobby was expected to sit back and applaud that ‘something was being done’.

Many in the wild fish lobby believe that RAFTS has demonstrated that it has been far more interested in protecting the stature and influence of the organisation from Edinburgh than it has been in protecting the few remaining wild salmon and sea trout on the west coast of Scotland.

A statement from RAFTS Chairman, Andrew Wallace, said:

“I feel sure that all within RAFTS will be extremely disappointed at this news. Callum’s contribution to the development of the organisation has been immeasurable and he leaves it transformed from a fairly loose fitting network of organisations covering part of Scotland into a mature national network capable of delivering countrywide scale projects and inspiring confidence in the people we do business with: Scottish Government, SEPA and SNH. If I was trying to succinctly capture those achievements they would be in the two words ‘discipline’ and ‘credibility’. It is a testament to Callum’s contribution that he leaves RAFTS with a core strength that can survive the departure of such an influential figure.

It goes without saying that we will be extremely sad to lose Callum whose professionalism and commitment to RAFTS has never been in doubt. We wish him very well with this career move and will expect to be doing business with him in his new capacity before too long.”

Mr Sinclair joined RAFTS as Director in November 2007. Before that he spent seven years with SEPA. Prior to that he worked with and ran Galloway Fisheries Trust.

The primary architect of MIAP, Donna-Claire Hunter, left RAFTS in the spring and now works for the Scottish Government. The RAFTS Aquaculture Officer position is still vacant and now that Callum Sinclair has resigned many are now asking: what now for MIAP?


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