Funding streams dry up

Kenny Galt, trout and grayling biologist at The Tweed Foundation Fish Conservation  Centre testing brown trout scales to age the fish.
Kenny Galt, trout and grayling biologist at The Tweed Foundation Fish Conservation Centre testing brown trout scales to age the fish.

The need to find new sources of funding for the Tweed Foundation’s work has been highlighted by chairman Douglas Dobie in its annual report.

The 2012 review provides information and progress reports on the various areas of the Tweed Fisheries Management Plan that the foundation has been working on.

In his report, Mr Dobie said a lot of the work undertaken by the foundation had been facilitated by direct funding from the Scottish Government, as well as project-specific grants, but that was set to change.

“2013 will be first year, almost since the foundation’s inception, that there is no suitable project funding available,” he said.

“At the same time, the Scottish Government has withdrawn all direct financial support to fisheries trusts.

“The foundation can see no prospect of this situation changing in the foreseeable future and it would be a significant backward step not to continue with the breadth and depth of work being carried out within the current Tweed Fisheries Management Plan.

“To do so, however, requires additional core funding from private sources in future.”

Mr Dobie added: “I am, therefore, looking forward to working with the foundation to develop new sources of funding and to increase the subscription base.”

According to the financial statement, the foundation spent over £291,000 in 2012, down nearly £20,000 on the previous year.However, its income also fell, by almost £24,000 compared to 2011.

The report highlights the variety of work carried out by foundation staff, including research into the genetic population structure of salmon in the Tweed catchment and studies on the spawning population of trout, and the production of brown and sea trout.

Nick Yonge, foundation director, said: “The foundation exists to make a difference and to do that we must have information: good information that will stand up to scrutiny and be useful to all who can make decisions that will make that difference.”

The foundation’s education and promotion work is also covered in the report, including the success of the stand at the Border Union Show and the TweedStart programme.

In 2012 it continued to work closely with primary and secondary schools in the Borders and north Northumberland to introduce children to fishing and to promote the positive impact it has on the environment and local economy.