The Caithness District Salmon Fishery Board has a statutory responsibility to protect and improve salmon and sea trout fisheries in its area.
The area comprises all the rivers of Caithness, including the Thurso, Dunbeath, Wick, Forss and Berriedale and Langwell Waters as well as coastal netting stations. The Pentland Firth lies to the north of the area and the Moray Firth to the east.
The River Thurso and the dual Berriedale/Langwell river system are Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) for Atlantic salmon under the European Union NATURA Agreement.
Role of DSFB
Salmon fishing rights in Scotland are private heritable titles that are registered separately from land. As such these titles can be bought and sold like any other property.
In Scotland, the cost of the local administration, protection and improvement of the fisheries is privately financed by the proprietors. The district boards finance their work by levying a rate on the salmon fishery owners in the district. Elected representatives of those owners provide the core of the membership of the Board. However, since 1986, the boards are required also to include representatives of salmon anglers and salmon netsmen in the district.
A further revision to the constitution of the Boards was made in 1999 to allow for even wider representation on the boards by other parties who may have an interest or stake in salmon stocks or fisheries.
Powers and duties
The powers and duties of a DSFB are summarised below:
- to act, undertake works and incur expenses for the protection and improvement of the fisheries within their districts, for the increase of salmon and sea trout and the stocking of the district with these fish.
- to impose financial assessments on each salmon fishery in the district, and to charge interest on arrears.
- to borrow funds, and to incur a wide range of expenditure in furtherance of their powers and duties.
- to appoint bailiffs to enforce the salmon fisheries legislation.
- to exempt persons from certain provisions of the law for scientific or other purposes.
- to sue in the name of the clerk.
- to appoint a clerk;
- to maintain a list of proprietors within the DSFBs district;
- to produce an annual report and audited accounts;
- to call an AGM of proprietors to consider the above and provide copies to the Scottish Government when approved;
- to call an annual public meeting to publicise the activities of the DSFB;
- to call a triennial electoral meeting.