District Salmon Fishery Boards have a duty under law to collect a levy on salmon fishing rights, and to use that levy for the conservation, protection and enhancement of salmon fisheries in its district. The Argyll DSFB tries to do that in as transparent and fair a way as possible. What we try to avoid is to collect a levy that will simply pay for the administration of the DSFB, and we need to collect a levy that allows for some protection and conservation work to take place.
The levy is calculated in two stages. First the fishing rights are assigned a rateable value, and then a levy is applied to this value. See below for more explanation.
Rateable values of fishing rights
Every fishing right registered on the valuation roll is assigned a rateable value based on the number of salmon and sea trout caught each year. The Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Valuation Joint Board (which is completely independent of the Argyll DSFB) calculates the rateable values using a five year average of fish catches for each fishing right. The latest reassessment was done in 2017, using catch figures returned by proprietors for the years 2010 to 2014 inclusive. Salmon are assessed at £40 each and sea trout at £10 each, so for example a fishing right with a five year catch average of 3 salmon and 3 sea trout caught per year would have a rateable value of (3 x 40) + (3 x 10) = £150. There is a minimum rateable value for fishing rights of £50, even if no fish are caught on that fishing right.
A list of rateable values for all scottish fishing rights on the valuation roll can be found on the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) website www.saa.gov.uk. In the box ‘Search for a Rateable Value’ put your district name e.g. Kintyre district, Awe district etc. Note that the valuation method detailed above is used in Argyll and much of the North and West of Scotland, but other areas, such as the big rivers on the East Coast and also Ayrshire Valuation Board, use different calculation methods.
The Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Valuation Joint Board contact details are: DAB-VJB, Kilbrannan House, Bolgam Street, Campbeltown, PA28 6HZ. Tel: 01586 555307 Website: www.dab-vjb.gov.uk
The levy rate is decided at District Salmon Fishery Board meetings, which are open to all local proprietors, River Improvement Associations (RIAs) and other interested parties. Argyll DSFB members recently agreed to change the levy rate to £1 in the £. This means that a fishing right with a rateable value of £150 would be charged a £150 levy per year. It was also agreed that for the two districts with a paid bailiff (Awe and Ruel) there would be an additional bailiff levy payable by proprietors in those districts only. For 2017 this bailiff levy is £2.10 in the £. For these areas, 75% of the salmon levy is returned to the RIAs to improve or protect their rivers; the Argyll DSFB retains the other 25%. In areas without a paid bailiff, the Argyll DSFB retains 100% of the levy.
The Board uses the levy for the protection and improvement of Argyll fisheries, and administration of the Board.
- responding to Argyll & Bute Council consultations on planning applications that might impact salmon and sea trout, such as aquaculture, hydro schemes or wind farms;
- sitting on advisory groups, such as the SEPA River Basin Management Area Advisory Group, the Flood Management Group, the Diffuse Pollution Sub-Group and co-chairing the Invasive Species Action Sub-Group;
- and representing the Argyll DSFB at the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards meetings;
- warranting Water Bailiffs to protect fisheries from poaching and disturbance to spawning grounds.
Improvement activities include:
- organising restoration projects in conjunction with the fisheries trust;
- organising online angling opportunities through FishPal for those rivers that wish to advertise their fishing;
- liaising with fishing proprietors on many matters, including fishery protection and conservation.
- liaising with the District Assessor of Salmon Fishing Rights in Campbeltown to keep records current;
- collecting and collating annual catch returns from all proprietors;
- collecting the salmon fishing levy.
Out of all these activities, it is liaising with proprietors and responding to consultations on planning applications that take up most of the Clerk’s time.