Local News for Thursday 14th April 2016

Report illegal fishing
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Police Scotland are urging the public to report any suspected fish poaching or illegal fishing nets which could catch and harm wildlife. An illegally-set gill net, which trapped a red-throated diver, was recovered from Geshader on West Loch Roag, and is likely evidence of illegal salmon poaching. The wild bird was probably saved from drowning by getting entangled at the surface rather than underwater. A similar net recovered from Loch Roag last year contained a drowned great northern diver, while in 2013, a porpoise perished in East Loch Roag in similar circumstances. Johanne Ferguson of Scottish Natural Heritage said: "This incident shows how important it is for people to be vigilant about possible poaching and the use of illegal gill nets. Report cases to Police Scotland or the relevant District Fishery Board Water Bailiff as soon as possible."

Anglers in catch 22
Meanwhile Stornoway Angling Association have issued an open letter protesting against new regulations which threaten the future of salmon and trout fishing in the Western Isles. Their statement reads: “The Scottish Government has just introduced a blanket ban on most Western Isles anglers keeping any salmon they catch. This is the result of using a flawed method that underestimated our salmon stocks and led the Government to believe that there were few salmon left in the Western Isles.  They have ignored all requests from local anglers and fisheries experts to overturn the ban.  Local clubs and tourism will be badly affected and clubs could face collapse.  The ban on keeping salmon takes effect this year, will affect all Island fisheries apart from the Obbe, Amhuinnsuidhe, Borve and Langavat, and will make it very risky for anyone in the the islands to be in possession of a wild salmon. The Stornoway Angling Association facebook page has details of how to object to these and other new proposals. 

Last few days for voter registration
With the Scottish Parliament election just a few weeks away, on Thursday 5th  May Western Isles electors are being urged to ensure they are registered to vote. The deadline for registration is on Monday 18th  April. The deadline for new postal vote applications or to change existing postal or proxy arrangements is 5pm on Tuesday 19 April and the deadline for new applications to vote by proxy is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April. Malcolm Burr, Constituency Returning Officer said: "Registering to vote is quick and easy. However, if you are not registered by midnight on Monday 18 April, you will miss out on the chance to have your say in the Scottish Parliament election." Anyone with a registration query should contact the Electoral Registration Office freephone - 0800 393 783. Further information about the Scottish Parliamentary elections is available on the Comhairle's website at www.cne-siar.gov.uk/electionoffice
Correction – Back club opening
The correct date for the public opening of Back Football Club’s new all-weather recreation facility is May 20th, not May 30th. Our apologies for the error.