Angling is important. It’s a sport worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the British economy, providing a satisfying and scenic past time for thousands and is intimately linked with the natural world. Willy Kennedy, impresario of SSACN, is at the forefront of the fight to protect fish stocks and ensure the vitality of the sport. His work is crucial in raising awareness of the plight of our seas, organizing angling events and collating data about the shark population and their habits.
The Skate tagging event at SSACN takes pride of place in the Scottish angling calendar. Gigantic, odd-looking and beautiful, Skate, or sharks that look like they ‘have been run over by a bus’ are majestic creatures which are in desperate need of protection. The tagging event is a perfect example of SSACN’s work and demonstrates the seductive combination of natural beauty, adrenaline pumping maritime fun and inspirational enthusiasm that comprise sea angling. Love of the sport itself has captivated its practitioners and in order to ensure its continuity and growth they have had to focus on the issue of conservation.
By lobbying government and raising publicity, Willy and SSCAN have managed to get over forty species of shark, Ray and other fish protected, including the Skate which are the subject of this piece. The aims of the tagging event are three fold. The tagging itself provides data which can be used by scientists to gauge fish stocks. The slick yachts and wonderful seascapes attract public attention and interest. Finally angling is fun, and ultimately this humble and tenacious activity, personified my Willy himself, ultimately benefits the environment. It is through such activities and activists that we can ensure there are fish for the future…
Produced by Michael Ingamells-Doyle
The one-day shoot took place in Scotland, with the help of the SSTP (Scottish.Tagging. Shark. Programme).