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THE MINUTES OF THE ESK DISTRICT SALMON FISHERY BOARD MEETING HELD ON THE 30th October 2013 (These will be considered by the Board at the next meeting)

Present: Neil Andersen, Wattie Barbour, Ali Gemmel, David Laird, John McDougal, Richard Milne, Bob Ritchie, Adam Ryndycz , Tom Sampson (Esk River & Fisheries Trust), Jim Simpson, Martin Stansfeld, Malcolm Taylor (chairman) and Marshall Halliday (Clerk).

Members of the public in attendance:

George Pullar, David Pullar, Kevin Pullar, John Pullar and Sean Massie – Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd

Eric McVicar – Scottish Marine Science U.H.I.

Scott Dickson - Angus Log Cabins Ltd

Peter Winder- Kinnaber Fishings

John Wood-Tay District Salmon Fishery Board

Brian Mather - BMF

Introduction and Welcome: The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting including the members of the public who were attending. He explained that this was the first meeting under the new Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013 to which members of the public were entitled to attend. The Meeting had been advertised on the Esk Board’s section of the web site www.erft.org.uk since the 15th October 2013.

The Chairman also apologised to the Board members for the previous cancellation of meetings due to personal circumstances.

Apologies: There were apologies from Bill Balfour, Eric Greig and Charlie Gow.

Minutes: The Minutes of the Meetings dated 26th April and 31st May were approved.

Matters Arising:

  1. Minute of 31st May:

    1. The voting of George Pullar was questioned in relation to how he was instructed to vote. The Minute correctly stated that George Pullar had informed the Meeting that he was mandated by Martin Stansfeld to vote against the resolution. This was categorically denied by Martin Stansfeld in an email to the Clerk dated the 14th July. As a result of this situation, it was recommended that in future, Mandates should be formalised and where appropriate, written instructions on any voting matters included. This was agreed by the Board.

  2. Smolt Shepherding:

Martin Stansfeld asked that the Minute recorded on the 26th April and affirmed on the 31st May be withdrawn. After discussion the Minute was accepted.

  1. Morphie Dyke:

It was reported that the dyke had started to breach on the LHS of the fish pass and there was concern that once the high water receded, the fish pass would be inoperable even at moderate flows. There were other parts of the dyke in a poor state of repair. Under these circumstances it could be a barrier to the free (and safe) passage of salmon.

The condition of the dyke was reported to SEPA on several occasions. They were currently trying to establish ownership (to date unsuccessfully) with a view to licensing the structure. As the dyke was functional (it provided two lades both of which had various functions) the Board has no legal right to remove the structure.

Martin Stansfeld commented that Canterland and Morphie were for sale and that a sale of Kinnaber was being contemplated. Any release of gravel could have an impact on these two beats and accordingly the sale, and accordingly Martin Stansfeld advocated that the dyke should be repaired.

Martin Stansfeld and Bob Ritchie offered to inspect the structure and provide some advice to the Board as to how it could be stabilised. There was also the option of appointing Envirocentre Ltd to prepare an “Options Report” on the Dyke.

  1. Action concerning the Resolution – Minute 31st May: The Chairman reported that the alleged illegal actions of Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd had been reported to Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal.

Issues arising from the new Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013:

  1. Declaration of Board Members’ Interests: the definition, previously circulated (copy attached), and the format of the Register were agreed. The Chairman added that the Board, by virtue of its statutory composition, had the potential for a number of conflicts of interest. Nevertheless, it had a statutory duty which would be discharged provided all members’ relevant interests had been declared.

The Clerk would request Board Members’ relevant financial interests and compile a register. In addition, while not required by the Act, the Clerk volunteered to declare his financial interests, adding that the Clerk did not have a role in agreeing Board policy.

  1. Complaints Procedure: The Board agree the procedure and this would now be sent to the Scottish Ministers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In addition, it would be placed on the Board’s section of the web site. The procedure would be subject to regular review. (Copy Attached).

Chairman’s Report:

The Chairman reported that in terms of angling it had been a difficult year. He had, with the Clerk, attended positive meetings with the MSP Graeme Dey and there had been a private meeting arranged with the Minister Paul Wheelhouse and his officials to visit the Rottal Burn.

Correspondence and Meetings:

  1. Correspondence was tabled and available for any Board Member to inspect. The Clerk had attended meetings with the Bailiffs, MSS(Montrose), SEPA, Forestry Commission, SNH and RSPB.

  2. Bill Balfour had requested that the Board consider the supervision of board finances. The Clerk tabled a manual record of all transactions which had been inspected by the Chairman and which is available for any Board Member to inspect (at anytime). The Board considered that oversight by the Chairman was satisfactory and no further action was merited.

  3. Correspondence from Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd:

    1. Note titled “Esk District Fixed Engine Salmon Fishery- Proposed Management Measures- A Way Forward”

It was noted that the topic of net fishing for salmon will be included in the Scottish Government Review the terms of reference of which were being considered. It was agreed by the Board that it should engage with Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd (USF) to establish, where possible, common ground with a view to submitting an agreed response to the Scottish Government. (USF being at the Meeting as a member of the public were consulted by the Chairman and agreed to meet with initially the Chairman of the Board to discuss the way forward). It was pointed out that the paper omitted any reference to net and coble fishing and it was stressed that all salmon netting should be fairly treated in terms of the fishing opportunity. Thus any review by the Board must include the net and coble fishery.

The Board also stressed that current netting operations are subject to the existing law (2003 Act) which must be upheld.

  1. Information request by Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd: The Chairman was given the approval of the Board to provide such data as was considered appropriate and required by the new Act.

Conservation measure 2014

  1. Conservation of early-running salmon and sea trout:

Martin Stansfeld was of the opinion that there were no concerns on the North Esk – there were were “huge” numbers of finnock at Kinnaber. He strongly added that Smolt Shepherding was the key to their survival. It was his opinion that the South Esk could not be expected to have good stocks of salmon and sea trout while there were seals in Montrose Basin. His view was that these must be removed or deterred through the deployment of seal scarers. It was pointed out that Montrose Basin is an internationally designated site largely managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and care must be taken if any seal deterrent measures are carried out within the Basin. However the issue of installing sea scarers in the estuary will be investigated. In any discussions with environmental organisations the Board should seek a reasonable balance between “fur, feather and fin.”

Conservation Measures for 2014: Conservation measures for anglers and netsmen would be similar to 2013, namely voluntary catch-and-release with a special emphasis on the protection of early–running salmon and sea trout. The Board’s agreement with Usan Salmon Fisheries included 2014 thus netting will not start until 1st May and all sea trout would be released (except those badly damaged)

  1. Smolt Shepherding Proposals 2014:

The Proposals from Martin Stansfeld were discussed and the following measures were agreed for 2014:

  1. Licensed Cull:

  • Martin Stansfeld to have total responsibility for applying and implementing the Licence to cull pisciverous birds in the Esk District. He would have the responsibility of ensuring that all conditions of the licence are fulfilled and appropriate reports submitted timeously.

  • Once the extent of the licensed cull was known, the Board would agree an allocation between the rivers Bervie, North Esk, South Esk, and Lunan with the North Esk being given a larger share.

  • Martin Stansfeld will organise and implement the cull on the North Esk and Bervie using volunteers who will be specified in the licence and he would be responsible for obtaining all relevant landowners’ permission where shooting was envisaged.

  • In respect of the South Esk and Lunan, Nigel McMullen, who should be specified in the licence, will be allocated a quota by the Board. Information concerning birds shot would be given to Martin Stansfeld for the returns required under the terms of the Licence.

  • The Board insisted that there will be no shooting on a Sunday

  1. Smolt Shepherding 2014:

  • Martin Stansfeld undertook to organise and implement smolt shepherding on the North Esk and Bervie using his volunteers

  • The Board stipulated that:

  • There will be no scare shooting undertaken on Sundays

  • Martin Stansfeld to obtain written permission from SNH (and copy it to the Board) before any scaring below the Nab Pool on the North Esk. SNH’s permission is required to cover any scaring tactics carried out within the National Nature Reserve on the north bank and Kinnaber Links SSSI on the south bank.

  • The Board would discuss the opportunity for smolt shepherding on the lower South Esk with South Esk Estates.

  1. Expenses:

  • The Board agreed to reimburse volunteers reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for 2013 & 2014.

Martin Stansfeld agreed to the terms and was thanked by the Board for undertaking and supporting this important project.


  1. Unpaid Assessments:

The following assessments were substantially over due:

National Trust for Scotland - £3630.00 (the local office will not provide a purchase order)

Martin Stansfeld - £7338.65 (£6,000 has been paid out of a total of £13,338.65)

Murray McBay - £621.00

W. Borland - £27.50 (this might be due through Laurencekirk AC)

It was agreed that with the exception of the latter the debt, all will be passed to Thorntons for Collection within 7 days of the meeting.

  1. Web Site:

The Web site is easily accessible through google and is at www,erft.org.uk. It would be developed to accommodate board issues.

Esk Rivers & Fishery Trust

Rottal Burn: The Chairman, Tom Sampson, reported on the success of the restoration of the Rottal Burn and the fact that it had attracted considerable plaudits from Scottish interests and beyond. It was confirmed that over 30 redds had been counted in 2013 and 0+ fry densities in 2014 were considered to be at a very high density.

New projects:

  1. The Trust had been awarded grants in excess of £40,000 to carry out extensive hydromorphological and geomorphological assessments on the Bervie and Lunan.

  2. The restoration of woodland in Glen Clova was being planned with a number of partners including SNH, SEPA, Forestry Commission, CNPA and the RSPB the project being coordinated by the Trust with a planning budget of £30,000.

There being no other matters of business, the Meeting was closed with a vote of thanks to the Chairman.






Section 24 of the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2013 amends the 2003 Act to place a number of new duties on DSFBs relating to openness and accountability. The new section 46D requires a DSFB to:

maintain, and keep under review, proper arrangements for dealing with complaints made to the board about the way in which the board have carried out, or propose to carry out, their functions under this Act or any other enactment’

Section 46D goes on to prescribe further detail about categories of complaints, who may make them and record keeping. Scottish Government have issued guidance in relation to the Good Governance obligations. Specific guidance relating to Annual Reports can be found in paragraphs 24-27.

General statement on complaints

  • All complaints will be treated seriously, whether they are made by telephone, by letter, or by email.

  • Complainants will be treated with courtesy and fairness at all times.

  • All complaints will be treated in confidence within the Board*.

  • Complaints will be dealt with promptly. Written complaints will be acknowledged within five working days and a full reply within 28 working days of receipt. If a full reply cannot be provided within 28 working days of receipt, the reason will be explained and notification provided as to when a reply will be forthcoming.

  • The number of complaints received, a statement as to the nature of each complaint and how it was disposed of will be published in our annual report.

*All complaints received will be dealt with confidentially and in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 (See Annex 1).

Complaints Procedure

Any complaint should be addressed to the Clerk to the Board, Dr Marshall M Halliday. Complaints can be made by:

  • Telephone: 07769655499 or 01674850164

  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • By letter to: Dr Marshall M Halliday, Clerk To The Esk Board, Woodside Croft, Ecclesgreig, St Cyrus, Angus DD10 0DP

A two-stage complaints procedure is in place. At each stage it will help us to resolve your complaint quickly if you can give us as much clear detail as possible, including any documents and correspondence and stating that you are making a complaint in line with our procedure.

Stage 1

This is the first opportunity for the Board to resolve a complainant’s dissatisfaction, and most complaints should be resolved at this stage. In the first instance, the clerk will investigate the nature of the complaint in conjunction with two other Board Members. The Clerk will act as Chairman of Stage 1 meeting. This gives the Board the opportunity to resolve and correct any resulting disadvantage (upholding the complaint); or establish that the action of the Board was correct thereby enabling the Board to explain this to the complainant (not upholding the complaint).

Stage 2

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the stage 1 response he or she may request a review by the full Board and any such request should be intimated to the Clerk in writing within  5 working days of the complainant’s receipt of the Board’s full response at the conclusion of stage 1.  It would be expected that where possible the review by the Board would be carried out at the next scheduled  meeting of the Board following the Clerk’s receipt of the complainant’s request.  This meeting or part thereof, would be chaired by the Chairman and exclude those who participated at Stage 1. Given the confidential nature of complaints, the Board might elect to hold this meeting, or part thereof, in private.  The complainant will be given the right to attend the meeting and to be accompanied by a representative.


Indicative timescales for handling a complaint

Stage 1 - maximum 28 working days

  • Acknowledgement within 5 working days

  • Full response within 28 working days

Stage 2 – timing will depend on the scheduling of the next Board meeting

  • Acknowledgement within 5 working days, with notification of the date and location of the meeting at which the complaint will be discussed

Extending time limits

We aim to complete all complaints within the timescales above; however, if a complaint is very complex it may occasionally be necessary to extend the time limit. If this is the case we will keep the complainant informed of progress with the investigation, the reasons for the delay, and inform them of the new deadline.

Further advice on Complaints

A copy of the Board’s complaints procedure will be submitted to Scottish Ministers by e-mail

The Board’s Complaint’s procedure is reviewed on an annual basis with a view to determining whether it is meeting local needs. If the complaints procedure is altered, Scottish Government should be informed by e-mail.

The new legislative provisions relating to complaints allow Boards to make different provision for dealing with complaints made by different potential complainants. For example, if a complaint was received by a public body, this might involve a full Board meeting in the first instance, rather than following Stage 1 above. Equally, a formal complaint by another DSFB may require the involvement of ASFB.

Record keeping

A record will be maintained which sets out the number of complaints received; the nature of the complaints and the outcome of the complaints.


DSFBs are required to report the number of complaints and a statement as to the nature of each complaint and how it was disposed of as part of the annual report. A sample format is included below but may be varied with experience.

1. Complaints received: During the last 12 months the Esk Board received <X> complaints: <Y> were resolved at Stage 1 and <Z> were resolved at Stage 2. <XX> complaints are yet to be resolved [if applicable].

2. Categories of complainant - origin: (a) members of the public, (b) proprietors of salmon fisheries in the Board’s district, (c) salmon anglers in the board’s district, (d) netsmen in the Board’s district, ( e) members of the board (f) angling clubs and (g) other district salmon fishery boards.

3. How complaints were received:







Communication from advocate




Meeting/ face to face





4. Response to complaints: X% of stage 1 complaints were responded to within the indicative timescale of 28 working days. Y complaints went to Stage 2 for review by the Board.

5. Outcomes: Of the <X> complaints received, <Y> were upheld, <Z> not upheld, <XX> partially upheld, and <XY> were not pursued by the complainant after initially registering the complaint.

6. Details of the nature of each complaint: A summary of the nature of each complaint will be documented

Dr Marshall M Halliday Clerk to the Esk Board September 2013





Register of Board Member’s Interests


  1. A district salmon fishery board must maintain, and keep under review, proper

arrangements for the registration and declaration of relevant financial interests

of members of the board.

(2) A board’s arrangements under subsection (1) above must, in particular, include

provision for—

(a) Further defining what are relevant financial interests,

(b) The clerk to keep a register of members’ relevant financial interests,

(c) Members to register their relevant financial interests in the register,

(d) Members to declare any relevant financial interests before taking part in

the Board’s consideration of any business,

(e) Members to be excluded from taking part in the board’s consideration of

any business in which the member has a relevant financial interest.

(3) A district salmon fishery board must ensure that the register of members’

relevant financial interests is made available for public inspection.

(4) In this section, “relevant financial interests”—

(a) Means interests of a pecuniary nature that could be affected by a decision

of the board, or the holding of which could otherwise have a bearing on

or otherwise influence a member’s view on any matter being considered

by the board, and

(b) Includes such interests held by a member or by another person with

whom the member has a personal or business relationship.


Further definition of Financial Interests (advised by Thorntons)


Relevant financial interests may be defined as any relevant pecuniary interest or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, that any Board member may have had, may have or may be expecting to have in relation to any matter likely to come before the Board for consideration. 

It is considered that complete transparency is not required i.e. that individual members must list every entity in which they may have a pecuniary interest but rather to register any interests which they have which it is overtly apparent and might reasonably foreseeably be relevant to business which comes before the Board for consideration. 

Clerk’s additional proposals for consideration:


  1. Members’ interests be reviewed at each meeting of the Board

  2. It is suggested that the Board Members decide what is a relevant financial interest when it comes to an important issue for discussion. Where the Board agrees that a member has a relevant financial interest then that member will be required to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed.


Revised 13.1.2014