Operation Salmo was the brainchild of Mr James Delaney acting as RCFMT bailffing co-ordinator and PC Phil Briggs the Wildlife Liaison Officer at Strathaven who came up with the idea over a cup of coffee in the Police station.
Operation Salmo was born and follows revelations that an upsurge in demand from restaurants and hotels for wild salmon, as opposed to the farmed variety, is now being met by organised gangs of poachers.
It started on Tuesday 10th August 2004 and ran until the end of the season.
The initiative involves Strathclyde Police and teams of crown bailiffs from the River Clyde and Loch Lomond areas, who joined forces in a concerted effort to stop the poaching of sea trout and salmon from the Clyde Estuary and surrounding waters.
At the time Mr Delaney said ” Illegal netting and fishing accounts for large numbers of salmon and sea trout adults being removed from the catchment area. These fish were destined to ascend the River Clyde or many of her tributaries to spawn, which they do by instinct to ensure the survival of the species. “We have to do all that we can to protect the Atlantic salmon and sea trout in a bid to reverse the alarming downward spiral in their numbers.” One of the main weapons in the fight against the poachers will be inflatable river boats manned by officers from Strathclyde Police Marine Unit.”
The month of August is a particularly testing time for those attempting to safeguard the fragile stocks of salmon and sea trout, as the fish are currently gathering at the mouths of rivers along the length of the west coast before beginning their long and arduous ascent upstream to spawn.
Joe Connelly, wildlife liaison officer co-ordinator at Strathclyde Police at the time, said: “We know that poaching is still occurring, especially in the month of August when many salmon and sea trout are taken illegally as they return to their spawning rivers. The fish are then sold illegally to hotels and restaurants.”
Some of the lengths poachers will go to go to kill fish,Gaffs and harpoon type spears.
Jimmy was interviewed by both STV and BBC
The Marine Division of the then Strathclyde patrol unit launch Gantock on patrol off Arrocher
In her berth at Greenock.
The unit also had the use of the Police Delta Rib
And a Helicopter ,unfortunately we have no pictures of it.
The new launch that took over from the Gantock is called Sempre Vigilo, as yet we have no pictures of this vessel.
During Operation Salmo several arrests were made and since then has been rolled out over Scotland.
We would like to thank Jimmy for sending in the pictures of this unique initiative.