River Bervie permits to be issued by Angling Association

THe chairman of Inverbervie and District Angling Association has hailed the “fantastic opportunity” the club has been given to manage the issuing of fishing permits for the River Bervie.

Neil Mclean made the announcement in the club’s news letter following a “positive” meeting with the Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board earlier this month.

He said: “Inverbervie and District Angling Association have been given a fantastic opportunity to manage the issuing of fishing permits for the River Bervie for the fast approaching 2011 season, running from February 25 to October 31.

“An agreement with the owners of the Crown Hotel, Inverbervie and the owners of the Post Office, Inverbervie, will allow the Angling Association to issue permits from both business premises.”

He added: “The Esk District Salmon Fishery has asked the Association to issue a catch return slip to each permit holding member. The member is asked to record their catch for the season on the slip and return it to the premises their permit was issued on the last day of the season. A day ticket angler will be asked to do the same at the end of each day’s fishing.

“The Association has a statutory requirement to provide details of the season’s catch tot he Fishery Board and Marine Science Scotland. The catch return slips allow the Fishery Board to monitor river performance.”

The permits, catch returns and information maps of the river are currently being formatted and will be completed by the start of the new season.

The news follows years of wrangling over angling issues on the river, with the ensuing impasse meaning people from outwith the Royal Burgh had been fishing illegally on the waters and people were powerless to stop them as there was no bailiff to police angling.

A Royal Charter issued by King David II in 1342 set out the rights of Bervie residents to “tak reid fish” from the river after the grateful monarch was rescued by local fishermen when his ship was wrecked on the Mearns coastline.

Issues arose when the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board bought the salmon netting station, meaning they also had control of the salmon net rights, but later handed these over to the Esk Fishery Board who needed a body to manage the waters.

The Esk Fishery Board in turn approached the Stonehaven and District Anglers’ Assocation to take care of the river and preserve fish stocks, a move that was resisted by locals who claimed they owned the river and the fish due to the Royal Charter.

This could have been overruled by modern statue that outlaws poaching and foul-hooking practices ie “ripping” in a bid to protect the stocks of wild salmon, but the rights of Bervie residents were reserved and it fell to Aberdeenshire Council to draft an agreement which was satisfactory to both parties.

As it now stands everyone requiresa permit to fish in the Bervie Water, including residents of the Royal Burgh.