Wild Life Guidance Notes.
Protected Species Beavers, Ospreys, (Raptors in General). Badgers Setts are usually in woodland and not often where fishing takes place, so disturbance from anglers is unlikely.
I have had contact from the Wild Life Crime Liaison Police Officer in answer to several questions asked and the undernoted is offered as a guide. The Acts do set out what deliberate or accidental action could result in a prosecution, and the substantial fines or worse, if found guilty. However, there are no specific distances stated as to how far away everyone, Anglers, Walkers or Farm Employees, must be from an Eyrie, Beavers Lodge or Badgers Sett. Common sense is the watch word.
Raptors in General
There are well established Osprey Eyries on Lochs where boats regularly drift or troll with very little disturbance to the Ospreys. A new Eyrie should be given a generous scope within which no person ventures. No specific distance but 100m seems to be favoured. Bank fishing again falls into the same broad guideline although setting up close to the Eyrie is likely to cause unease in the Birds in some cases.
There is a general guide which is to stay some distance from all Raptors Eyries during the early part of the nesting season up to the start of May, as by then chicks should be hatched and on the feed and parent birds are less likely to desert if disturbed. It is a Crime if any Raptor is regularly disturbed resulting in abandoning the Eyrie or nest site. Tree Climbing, Noise, Fires and or BBQ Smoke are what usually results in Raptors leaving a location.
Beavers : From the 1st of May the Beaver joins the list of Protected Species.
Most activity is during the twilight hours and darkness. Once established with a Lodge and or dam they are very resilient and take some shifting. Boats can regularly pass fairly close to a Lodge during daylight with little or no reaction from Beavers. Once again there is no specific distance stated to set up an exclusion zone for example. There must be no disturbance to any part of a Lodge or Dam.
The most likely cause for concern is if a Beaver becomes entangled with set fishing lines and the line becomes snagged and the Beaver drowns. If a Beaver is foul hooked in using spinning or trolling gear, it could sustain damage if the lure is pulled free or if brought to shore freeing it will be difficult and infection may result leading to its death. In either of the above, it is the Angler who is held responsible.
There are no specifics which can be quoted from any Act, relating to creating exclusion zones. What constitutes a Crime and the result of a successful prosecution is defined within set parameters.
On Maps, mark with a red dot or circle the location of any Eyrie, occupied or not as old Eyries can be reused, or Lodge on angling permit maps and where applicable on any large map displayed at Fishing Huts, Moorings or Permit Sales Points. If there is a supply of permits already printed mark the locations on the map and have an explanation note covering the points above to append to the map and permit.
If it is considered that Coarse Fishing, or Spinning for any Species, in close proximity to a Lodge, may result in disturbing or entangling a Beaver then a local exclusion Zone could be considered. This may be in the best interests of the Anglers to avoid the possibility of coming on contact with a Beaver. 50m in either direction with clear notices would show awareness of the Protected Species Law.
Conclusion. Please remember Wild Life attracts many supporters to watch and photograph all Species activities. Any suspicious activity can be reported by Members of the Public.
It is good Public Relations to be seen to be aware of and making moves to comply with the Wild Life Act(s) and Code. Official notices being sent to me which can be copied and displayed at Sales Points, Fishing Huts or Moorings. I shall be pleased to assist in any way and expand on the above.
A.J.M. Stewart TLC Recorder.