Sir – It’s heartening to see that Andrew Graham-Stewart is concerned about the welfare of wild salmon, and whilst I would be happy to discuss the causes of the decline of wild salmon populations in Scotland’s rivers, the main issue of his letter (3rd August) is the RSPCA Freedom Foods scheme for farmed salmon.
Mr Graham-Stewart appears to suggest that the RSPCA should widen its remit to include wild salmon, and rightly so. There is not enough weight given to concerns about the pain and stress inflicted on wild salmon in the name of sport by those who happily encourage the fish to impale themselves on the end of a sharp hook.
Once embedded in the flesh, the fish are played on the end of the line for possibly 30 minutes or more before being dragged to shore and removed from the water for the obligatory triumphal photograph. Those fish lucky enough to be released may even survive to live another day.
There has been much written about fish and pain but the angling fraternity have so far managed to evade the imposition of tighter welfare controls. Perhaps Mr Graham- Stewart’s invitation to the RSPCA to look at this issue may be the beginning of a welcome new initiative to reduce the suffering of this iconic species.
Dr M R Jaffa