Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

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quicky
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by quicky »

or maybe not...
from sotp
Quote Originally Posted by hanger_on View Post
Well it looks as if this one is going to court,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...ntral-15624623
An ambiguous quote from the article "Landowners on the Upper Tay who believe "relentless" commercial rafting is destroying lucrative fishing grounds are to take legal action over access."

Are they claiming that the rafting is destroying their income or the fishing grounds?

It seems it's more of the former and very little of the latter judging by a later quote "whilst the rafting businesses expand and improve in their profitability, the fishing interests are on their knees."

So there will be more fish surviving to breed thanks to the rafting activity.

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

Difficlut one. I dare not speculate either way. I will just post any news articles.

Hopefully it will be resolved through amicable relations.


Nick_
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Nick_ »

He raised the point about the loss to the local economy from the fishermen not using that stretch due to rafting, I wonder which activity benefits the local economy more, rafting or fishing?

I don't really have a problem with mixed access - whenever i've boated in Europe under similar circumstances it's never been an issue, fishing before 12, paddlers after 12 etc. Locals are always really pleasant. If it's banned for a day, go paddle something else and come back tomorrow. Does seem to set a worrying precedent though.
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welshyaker
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by welshyaker »

We have done everything to try and keep the issue civil..... They asked us if we wouldn't mind been quiet as we passed them, we said ok not a problem, they asked us if we wouldn't mind letting the fisherman know when we were approaching them and ask which side of the river they would like us to pass, again we said ok. They have overruled the Landform act does this mean we have a case to stop them from fishing on the the other 4 days!!!!! All I know is there are company's on this stretch of river that are struggling because of the current climate and rafting is a big part of their income. Thanks a lot you bunch of arrogant twats. Sorry I may not have a job next season because of this and owe these people nothing!
Never put the body where the mind hasnt already been.

dmurf
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by dmurf »

We have done everything to try and keep the issue civil..... They asked us if we wouldn't mind been quiet as we passed them, we said ok not a problem, they asked us if we wouldn't mind letting the fisherman know when we were approaching them and ask which side of the river they would like us to pass, again we said ok. They have overruled the Landform act does this mean we have a case to stop them from fishing on the the other 4 days!!!!! All I know is there are company's on this stretch of river that are struggling because of the current climate and rafting is a big part of their income. Thanks a lot you bunch of arrogant twats. Sorry I may not have a job next season because of this and owe these people nothing!
I completely agree with you.
I worked for splash last season and I have to say I have never encountered such arrogant people in my life. They have made things more difficult.
Some of the abuse some of the fishermen gave while I was rafting with clients was completely unacceptable.
I have worked in Slovenia where it is also a fishing area and the fishermen usually use the river from 6pm onwards.. which gives the rafting business a normal 9-6 day.
Happy Days.
The fishermen in the Tayside area are stubborn and obnoxious people with too much money to know what to do with it.
Small rant over.

Pura Vida
Buena lineas

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forestknights
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by forestknights »

Guys the people with fishing businesses are probably writing something similar on their forums too. About people losing income and life being hard because of selfish paddlers.

We have to learn to share our natural resources so that all users can enjoy their activities in a manner they find acceptable.

It will take some compromising on both sides.

Having no direct information about the rafting or fishing activities on the river its hard to judge who needs to budge.

It should not be beyond us to come up with a solution for reasonable shared access to all waterways that allows paddlers and fishermen to co exist.
Know the wisdom of patience during times of inactivity.

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stewarty905
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by stewarty905 »

Rafting cant be that bad for the fishermen on that river atall

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tay ... 409963.stm

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Keith Day »

Nick_ wrote:If it's banned for a day, go paddle something else and come back tomorrow.
It's not paddling that's banned, it's commercial rafting. We have to accept that without prejudicing paddlers rights, all rights have a corresponding responsibility to strike a balance with the rights of others. It's a shame when that balance has to be struck by a court rather than sensible discussion and compromise but in England we we may have to rely on similar courts to ensure that paddlers interests are taken into account.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by morsey »

forestknights wrote:It should not be beyond us to come up with a solution for reasonable shared access to all waterways that allows paddlers and fishermen to co exist.
Agreed, discussions on an equal footing should prevent issues such as this needing to go to court. I thought the system in Scotland afforded a river management group to deal with these issues!?! I am not sure how much the ban will restrict Rafting, I would have thought that weekends would be prime time, can anyone in the know inform as to the impact this will have? Commercial use is different from recreational use of rivers, commercial rafting and fishing come under the same umbrella. On paper the restriction appears to give both sides an almost fifty fifty percent use of the river, is that not a correct interpretation!?! Sharing rivers, including avoiding certain times has never been an issue for canoeists, so long as the share is fair.

What is the feeling on the ground with the raft guides?

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by neilfarmer »

Keith Day wrote:
Nick_ wrote:If it's banned for a day, go paddle something else and come back tomorrow.
It's not paddling that's banned, it's commercial rafting. We have to accept that without prejudicing paddlers rights, all rights have a corresponding responsibility to strike a balance with the rights of others. It's a shame when that balance has to be struck by a court rather than sensible discussion and compromise but in England we we may have to rely on similar courts to ensure that paddlers interests are taken into account.
It is the very thin end of the wedge and this [court's] is the course of action taken by rich people against poorer people. What happens when, with this success they turn to large recreational groups? People at a playspot? A dam released river that only runs on certain days?
Neil Farmer.

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Jim
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Jim »

Let's get 2 things clear:

1) This has absolutely nothing to do with the land reform act or our recreational rights of access. The land reform act explicitly excludes commercial access. It is bad news for commercial operators and they deserve our support, but lets not confuse the issues and get worked up for the wrong reasons.

2) In terms of the views of landowners, parts of Strathtay really do seem to be a kind of little England, completely out of touch with the rest of Scotland. Lets hope it doesn't spread, it doesn't seem to have in the time I have lived here.

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morsey
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by morsey »

On re reading, it says there is rafting four days a week and I presumed it meant fishing on the other three. Was it actually that fishing is allowed seven days and rafting is only allowed four days? Anyone know which way it is? Because one seems fair, the other is not.

dmurf
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by dmurf »

On re reading, it says there is rafting four days a week and I presumed it meant fishing on the other three. Was it actually that fishing is allowed seven days and rafting is only allowed four days? Anyone know which way it is? Because one seems fair, the other is not.


Last season it was that we rafted 5 days and were off the river for 2 days which were tuesdays and thursdays.
But We still went on the river with duckies (small inflatable rafts) because they didnt have a governing body like kayaking or rafting in the uk.

I can undestand the fishermens point of view to a certain extent because working for the company I did, We had some BIG days where we would put over 200 people
down the river in 1 day. Thats alot of traffic on the water and including other companies it would be quite frustrating for fishermen to be stopping then starting fishing as
we come down.
But they dont own the river and neither do we.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Adrian Cooper »

dmurf wrote: We had some BIG days where we would put over 200 people
down the river in 1 day.
How many on the Ardeche in a day? Check out Slime's book and you will see loads of sections with likely 200 plus per day.

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Jim
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Jim »

morsey wrote:On re reading, it says there is rafting four days a week and I presumed it meant fishing on the other three. Was it actually that fishing is allowed seven days and rafting is only allowed four days? Anyone know which way it is? Because one seems fair, the other is not.
I'm not sure, I was left with an impression that the company interviewed had voluntarily left 3 days clear, where voluntarily probably means negotiated hard for.

Being a commercial concern the rafters don't have the freedom of access we do - I don't know the details but you essentially have 2 types of business trying to use the river, one without riparian ownership (or very limited) and the other with riparian ownership for the entire section they use. I think therefore that fishing is allowed 6 days a week (unless it changed whilst I wasn't paying attention there is no fishing on the Sabbath in Scotland), but that clients are only interested in the 3 days when there are no rafts so they other days are un-marketable. It is important to understand (and you probably do) that this is not the kind of coarse fishing set up you find so extensively in England where you join a club for a year (or pay for a daily or weekly permit) and then turn up when you like and find a space amongst other members / people who bought a permit for that week, it is game fishing where people will be paying a lot of money for the day (or a 3 day break or similar), probably with a ghillie included to help them find the fish (some may even be paying for tuition) and possibly on the basis of having the entire section to themself for the day. You need to be thinking of the fishing in terms of a full holiday package in order to understand why the anglers are put off and why it makes it difficult for the angling concerns to maintain their business.

One of the strangest, yet completely polite and friendly, encounters we have ever had with an angler was at the takeout from the Findhorn gorge. He hadn't been expecting a group of paddlers to appear and simply wanted to know if we were allowed to be there (little comprehension of the access situation, I think this was before the land reform, but even so), because he had been given the impression that when he had paid to fish the river for the day or week or whatever, that he would have it completely to himself, which he had presumably taken to mean that no pedestrians would come wandering up (unlikely but no reason they couldn't, where we parked is the start of lots of walks in the area) or boats would appear in the river, whilst the estate had obviously meant that they wouldn't be having anyone else fishing there at same time. As I say, the angler was very good natured about it, but I'll wager he asked for some money back from the estate because he had encountered strangers! As I recall he was quite happy and wished us well, he was just a bit surprised.

Anyway, the point is, if one can go and fish the Findhorn with a very small chance of any disturbance, why would one go to the Tay if 200 people might float past you during the day?

Clearly rafting brings more people in and causes the money to be spread around a bit more, but the angling concerns have a bigger stake (riparian ownership) to worry about, and in most cases also have employees, and can probably argue that their employees are locals with several generations of residence, whilst the raft companies will only have a core of permanent staff and the rest are seasonal staff. I beleive both are needed, maybe after a period of adjustment it will work out better for both?

I don't know what kind of fishing happens on the Ardeche but I'll bet people aren't paying hundreds or thousands of pounds to have a couple of miles of it to themselves....

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Laurence Mezo »

Better a bad day on the water than a good day at school!

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

It's an interesting case. Although, as others have said, that commercial activities do not come under the access code (they do indirectly) they still apply morally.

The outcome needs to be something like an agreed limit on the total number of rafters at a time descending ? That way both parties will be happy. I don't know if an hour delay between groups of rafts etc has been tried ?

When I guided on the Durance, dozens all left the St Andre beach roughly at 10am. Similar to the Ardeche, lots descending between 10am and 4pm. But if you left the start at 11am it may be an empty river.

SOAC

........Make sure that the river, loch or reservoir is appropriate for your activity and the numbers involved, take care not to interfere unreasonably with other interests.........

........Your Access Rights - Access rights are for outdoor recreation, for crossing land and water, and for some educational and commercial purposes.......


......2.9 Access rights extend to activities carried out commercially or
for profit, provided that these activities could also be carried on
other than commercially or for profit (ie by the general public
for recreational purposes or for educational activities or for
crossing land). For example, a mountain guide who is taking a
customer out hill-walking is carrying on a commercial activity
but this falls within access rights because the activity involved
– hill-walking – could be done by anyone else exercising access
rights. The same would apply to a canoe instructor from a
commercial outdoor pursuits centre with a party of canoeists......

It seems a bit grey. The Spey seems to have settled down access wise. There was a good article in the Scottish Paddler mag last month about access issues. Luckily, my groups are educational so are allowed under the Code.

As Rafting 'seems' to be interfering with paying fisherman, the court case has gone through.

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

morsey wrote:
forestknights wrote:It should not be beyond us to come up with a solution for reasonable shared access to all waterways that allows paddlers and fishermen to co exist.
Agreed, discussions on an equal footing should prevent issues such as this needing to go to court. I thought the system in Scotland afforded a river management group to deal with these issues!?! I am not sure how much the ban will restrict Rafting, I would have thought that weekends would be prime time, can anyone in the know inform as to the impact this will have? Commercial use is different from recreational use of rivers, commercial rafting and fishing come under the same umbrella. On paper the restriction appears to give both sides an almost fifty fifty percent use of the river, is that not a correct interpretation!?! Sharing rivers, including avoiding certain times has never been an issue for canoeists, so long as the share is fair.

What is the feeling on the ground with the raft guides?
As a member of the public could raft the Tay, a commercial raft operator would be allowed under the legislation. It's 'seems' to be the number of rafters ? Not the rafting as such. 'Interfering' with another commercial interest seems to be the crux.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Jim »

I had missed that, and based on a short discussion with Eddie and Mike at the SCA about a school group a few years ago I'm fairly sure they hadn't seen it either. It was my brothers group - he called me from the banks of the Tay because they got turfed out of where they had started setting up camp by a land owner trying it on. Our conclusion at the time was that they probably didn't have any rights, but in any case as the responsible teacher he should have planned it properly in advance and sought permission.

It is difficult, if the fisheries can prove they are losing business due to the rafting putting clients off, then it would be hard for the rafters to claim that they are taking responsible access. That might lead to a problem for the rest of us if it can then be shown that kayaks and canoes are driving clients away, but I don't think that would be possible. I don't think many people do the full trip on a regular basis, most of the kayak traffic will be concentrated at Grandtully and a lot of anglers are sympathetic to canoes and even use them.....

I still think it is a business vs business issue and won't have any repercussions for ordinary recreational paddlers.
I also think the rafters will adapt much better than the press are reporting, it will hurt them, but I don'tthink it will kill them.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

We, school groups, still check with a landowner directly before wild camping, never been refused. In fact as soon as landowners see we are a school group they are more than helpful and offer other sites too.

Club or school trip leaders should avoid big numbers. Splitting a big group into smaller groups half an hour apart etc is good practice. I did once see a D of E group get off a coach and walk off into the forest as a group of 50+ ! Not really the wild experience.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by petesyme »

Some facts guys. I am Pete Syme owner of Splash Rafting

The commercial operators have been in negotiations with a body of landowners called UTROA for over 20 years. These negotiations have not been easy and have had various political figures involved in over the years.

We had in place timing agreements when we would be on the river and when we would not be on the river. We had an agreement that we would be on Mon, Wed, Fri Sat and Sun after 0930hrs and off by 1700hrs. Obviously the busy days are Sat and Sunday. The fishing had access any time they want.

A couple of years back a new head of UTROA was appointed who lives in London and owns an estate on the river in question. From his appointment all negotiations and communication has been even more difficult than it was in the past.

He put considerable resources in place to get the Outdoor Access Forum of Perth Council to recommend that we the operators only raft 4 days a week and the fishing have full access all week. We of course rejected such a one sided proposal.

A group of landowners, Aberfeldy angling club and fish legal all of which we had never ever been in negotiations with then tried to get Perth council to implement a by law last summer. This failed. The group who we had negotiated with for 20 years UTROA was not a signature to the action.

The second attempt by this same group that we have never ever been in negotiations with took Perth Council to court again, not us, to get the ruling enforced that the outdoor access forum suggested ie us 4 days fishing when they want. Perth council did not defend in court so the judge passed it. We had no legal representation as Perth Council would not speak to us as they said it was nothing to do with us!

Currently we are in the time period when an appeal can be launched, however, we cannot launch it as the case was not against us but the council. The council have no intention of appealing the ruling.

To date not one operator affected has had any communication on this ruling from the council or the court. We do expect to be told at sometime of course but to date this has been done in a manner that has keep us out of all legal procedure.

We do of course expect to be told we are banned of the river once the appeal period is up. Once we see what it is that is actually served on us we will then take legal advice on how to challenge it. We have no intention of rolling over and accepting it.

The impact of the ruling if stands will have a major impact on employee numbers, local providers of accommodation, fuel, bus transport, food etc. Schools and education groups will be especially curtailed as they have fixed programs and as it stands we would have to take ever school client the 5 companies have on a Thursday which is just not going to happen.

All the operators have always tried to work together over the years to ensure we had the best agreements possible with the fishing bodies. We were always without exception the ones giving. ie restricted times, pulling over and waiting to be called through etc etc. Fishing has never been restricted once in all these years of negotiation. We have always seen it as possible for both sides to work together but it has obviously been 20 years of falling on deaf ears.

If this ruling stands I would expect to see many more actions from landowners in the coming months.

Hope the above gives some background to the situation as I fully expect a lot more press coverage in the coming months and it is best to have the background.

As it stand we do not know what the ban will say. Just commercial?, certain type of craft? , only Perthshire based operators ? we will just have to wait and see and then act as we deem fit when our professional local council deem fit to speak to us.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by nellburt »

Nice one Pete totally behind this and a lot of guides.
Urrrrrrgghhh!!!

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by morsey »

That paints a very different picture. Not good.

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

A sad state of affairs. Will they ban canoeing in any form next ?, buoyed by that success.

Good luck to rafters, sounds like you have been more than reasonable.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Keith Day »

Although you can't appeal since you were not party to the action, can you use the process of judicial review to contest the councils action in giving the court no option but to award the decision in favour of Fish Legal and others? The council obviously thought they had good reason for making their original decision after listening to both sides of the case. By their actions the court was only given the chance to hear one side of the argument which seems clearly contrary to natural justice.

Of course, after hearing your side of the argument the court may still make the same judgement but at least you'll get the chance to play your best cards.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by Jim »

The next step must surely to be to tell Alec Salmond that a bunch of Tory voting, anti-Scottish* and probably not born in Scotland wealthy landowners are taking steps to harm the rural economy, destroy jobs, ruin educational trips, etc. etc. etc.

I have absolutely no support for his party or policies, but if he could be used to advantage, why not - he thinks nothing of manipulating nationalist feeling to his own ends, might as well use that to do something useful!

*the land reform is an example of Scottish sentiment, whilst it may or may not be completely relevant, it is certainly similar, and a stance against the land reform or similar, must therefore be a stance against Scottishness.....

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by petesyme »

@Keith we have lawyers looking at it as we speak but it is difficult when we do not know what the ban will state. However, whatever it states we will take every legal avenue open to us.

Although this only effects one stretch of river , the stretch that we make our living on, we are in no doubt that if it stands you will see similar actions on other sections of the rivers in Scotland.

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Re: Rafting Ban = Un-enforceable

Post by pickenjohn »

There are a some key issues in this.
The Council as the representatives of those taking access did not respond. This is a serious and unacceptable precedent. It meant the court was able to rubber stamp an action without due process.
The ruling sets a precedent for any salmon river, grouse moor, deer stalking or even sheep shearing estate.
Did the court accept any reference to damage to fish stock? Such a view even hidden within the ruling could have wider consequences and has no scientific basis.
I know there is a long history on the Upper Tay. However the failure do reach agreement is not a justification for an uncontested action in the Court and leaves the impression that Perthshire Council are just rolling over to meet some land owners expectations. Again a precedent that is unacceptable, where will they do that next?
In my view this is something as paddlers and rafters we should be taking action on.
I would be interested to know how the SCA has responded, how it is viewed by organisations like the MCofS, Sport Scotland and the Ramblers Association.
And whether it is enforceable is of little consequence to these threats.

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