Two guilty of wildlife crime at Loch Earn

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Two men have been convicted for wildlife crime offences and breaches of camping byelaws within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Forestry Commission.

At Stirling Justice of the Peace Court on Monday April 9, Adam Russell was fined £300 and Dale Snedden was fined £350 for the possession of Atlantic salmon eggs and camping without authorisation.

The pair were identified through Operation Ironworks after committing the offences on the south shore of Loch Earn, on April 30, 2017.

Both men were found fishing in possession of a jar of bait, which was seized and sent for analysis by the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture laboratory. It was then confirmed this bait was made from the eggs of Atlantic salmon.

Snedden, 45, pleaded guilty to camping without authorisation and also to possession of the salmon eggs under Section 9 of The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003.

Russell, 51, also admitted camping without authorisation under the Loch Lomond  and the Trossachs National Park camping management byelaws 2017, as well as drugs possession, having being caught with a personal quantity of cannabis at the time of the incident.

Constable Paul Barr, national park police officer, said: ‘The poaching of fish, including salmon, is a national wildlife crime priority and the conservation status of Atlantic salmon is declining on many rivers in Scotland.

‘The use of this illegal bait, commonly known as “putty”, can cause damage to the stocks of salmon as those eggs should have been fertilised and laid in the river to hatch into juvenile fish rather than be made into this illegal bait.

‘Officers will continue to patrol and be vigilant for other such offences during Operation Ironworks this year.’