SANA are greatly dismayed to learn of the announced further reductions of fishery operations at Loch Leven and the imminent closure of the hatchery & rearing ponds. Historically, Loch Leven has been the home of Stillwater fly-fishing in Scotland and the venue for Competitions and National and International Championships for well over 100 years. Obviously, the loch can now no longer be considered as a competition venue.


These measures constitute a major loss of what was once considered the premier UK brown trout angling venue and could herald the demise of the renowned indigenous Loch Leven trout, which has been exported throughout the world to New Zealand, South America and Australia.


Together they are an important part of Scotland’s natural heritage which we cannot afford to lose. Ironically, the loch is presently fishing better than it has for some time.


Undoubtedly, a major contributory factor has been the constant predation by up to 800 cormorants estimated by recent biological surveys, to average 80,000lbs of fish, primarily trout, annually. The habitual refusal of applications to annually cull even 50 of these predators, due to restrictions imposed by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) have obviously exacerbated the situation.


The loch and its immediate surroundings have been designated at the highest level of protection and should be a jewel in the country’s environmental crown but with the dramatic reduction in fish stocks, it would appear that two of the original three pairs of Ospreys have left the site for ‘greener pastures’.


To lose of this facility, constitutes a major blow to Scotland’s heritage and to local tourism interests, not to speak of the job losses incurred.


This obvious lack of environmental stewardship by all concerned, bodes ill for the future of game angling and poses the question, “which freshwater facility in Scotland will be next to suffer a similar fate?”