More than 300 people were present at Potarch for the opening ceremony of 2014’s salmon fishing season on the River Dee.
Ross Brawn, the Formula One team principal, who is widely credited with masterminding Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles, made the ceremonial first cast on Saturday, with hundreds of anglers and river workers watching at the event at Potarch Bridge.
Speculation has been rife in the world of motorsport lately that Brawn was set to retire and indeed his agreeing to open the river for salmon season was a manner of unofficial confirmation.
Speaking at the Dee opening Mr Brawn said: “I’m retiring, it’s not tongue in cheek. I’m going to take a year to enjoy the fishing and then see what life brings. I’m looking forward to it but I’ve got no other plans.”
As the salmon season got under way, Mark Bilsby, the Dee’s river director, unveiled two new conservation initiatives.
These include opening up 80 miles of tributaries to give access to salmon and sea trout- providing new spawning areas, and producing more returning salmon in future.
Mr Bilsby also announced plans to recruit an army of volunteers to clear the river of invasive alien plant species.
He said: “We’ve got off to a good start and are very grateful to those who support us.
“This is not a comercial event.
‘‘It is a celebration of the River Dee and, indeed, the spirit of Deeside’s community coming together for a common goal.”
Salmon fishing on Royal Deeside employees hundreds and brings an estimated £15 million per annum to the local economy.