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AGM 2017 – Secretary’s Report

The Association’s Management Committee met in full 5 times since the last AGM. The meetings were all well attended and your elected representatives worked hard to serve your interests.
As far as the Secretary’s work goes, I was pretty much kept going with email enquiries from visiting anglers and queries resulting from our online membership availability. The aforementioned was a great success with 124 members, mainly visitors, joining online. We did see a slight increase in visiting angler membership last season which could be put down to this. It certainly saved a lot of  envelope licking.
The Committee spent quite a lot of time in relation to one loch in particular – Kirbister. We started the year by renewing our approach to Scottish Water in order to obtain an area of foreshore adjacent to the old pumphouse and our hatchery. After a good deal of effort on our part, SW declined  to make this available. We then decided to level off our existing site on the loch so that we could erect our tent etc and provide some parking for the junior event in July. Unfortunately, we fell fowl of the OIC’s stringent planning requirements for such work on our own land and so were commanded to cease operations there or else!! Following this, an approach to Highland Park in order to obtain some right to use and develop their existing “launching area” was made. HP were very co-operative and I would like to thank Erik Smith in particular for his help and support in this regard. All was going exceedingly well until just a few weeks ago when HP’s lawyers discovered that they were currently leasing all of the Hobbister Hill, including their bit of loch shore, to the RSPB. All is not lost. We are querying the duration and extend of the lease, but I pretty much think that it’s a lost cause. So maybe it’s back to our existing site and planning permission hurdles. One for the new Management Committee to pursue!!
The Committee spend a good deal of time discussing the proposed Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill and its implications for Orkney. Our Environment Sub-committee in particular put in a great deal of work in responding to Consultative Documents, lobbying anybody who would listen and dealing directly with Scottish Government civil servants. Thankfully, it seems like most of the bill is now dead in the water.  A complete waste of time for everyone at the expense of the tax payer. Rod licensing, FMOs and central control have all been delivered a sound nap on the head by Scotland’s angling community. 
 Much of the remaining work will be covered in the Sub-committee Convenors reports, and I thank all those involved for their hard work and dedication throughout the year, and in particular the President and Treasurer for their excellent support.
Malcolm Russell – OTFA Secretary
28th February 2017