A Swedish television team has been on Deeside as part of an investigation into declining stocks of wild salmon in their own country.
As the season for salmon fishing on the River Dee came to a close the crew from the national Television station in Sweden SVT wanted to find out how a once drastic situation here had been turned around.
The producer of the programme ‘Mission Investigate’ - the Swedish equivalent to the BBC’s Panorama - Sven Bergman arrived with Jan Eliasson to film part of the programme on Deeside.
During their stay they interviewed Scandinavian anglers who were fishing a number of middle Dee fishing beats along with River Dee ghillies.
They also interviewed River Director Mark Bilsby and Fisheries Development Officer Ken Reid and filmed in George Strachan’s store in Aboyne and other Deeside landmarks.
When asked why they chose to come and film on Royal Deeside Sventold Ken Reid:”You had serious problems, similar to Sweden where your stocks were collapsing in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. You made some incredibly bold and brave decisions to tackle the problem of declining stocks, which were not without controversy. You tackled the problems head on and removed the coastal nets, you introduced a policy of catch and release and have done an incredible amount of work improving riparian habitat for wild salmon stocks ensuring you produce as many juvenile fish as possible.”
Sven added:”You have worked collectively in your valley, engaging all the stakeholders and supporting business infrastructure to restore and invigorate a local economy that sustains over 500 jobs.
The Dee model shows how angling tourism works successfully and could work in our country. You have best practises here producing results which are the benchmark for our rivers to aspire to. You have long term challenges ahead of you and it is heartening to see your ambitious work programmes over the next 5 years which will continue to help your wild fish stocks grow and sustain your local economy during difficult economic times.”
Sven visited Ballogie beats, Birse, Kincardine, Commonty and chatted at length with the beat ghillies as well as capturing images of anglers catching and returning salmon for the programme.
The programme will be produced and broadcast sometime in November in Sweden and will be available on the internet.
Anglers from Scandinavian countries come to Royal Deeside annually in ever growing numbers.
Angling Tourism in Deeside is estimated to contribute around £12 million to the local economy.