Members of Angling for Youth Development, an initiative that aims to get young people from East Renfrewshire interested in fishing instead of becoming involved in antisocial behaviour, have been invited to take part in the opening ceremony of the Tay salmon season.
The six young members of Angling for Youth Development (AFYD), who are aged between fourteen and seventeen will take part in the first day of fishing on the Tay on Monday 16 January. Martin Johnstone a seventeen year old member of AFYD will also make one of the first casts as he will be in the first fishing boat of anglers that goes out on to the Tay. The boat will be traditionally blessed with a quaich of whisky by Prof David Bellamy at the opening ceremony.
Speaking about the involvement of AFYD, Barry Fowler, Director of the Taymouth Group Ltd which is the company behind the multi-million pound development of Taymouth Castle and estate, said:
â€œI am delighted to say that this year a new group has been invited to participate at the opening of the salmon season. Members of Angling for Youth Development, an initiative that aims to encourage youngsters to participate in fishing, will be joining in the event. AFYD has proved to be extremely popular in various parts of the country and shows that fishing is a pastime for all ages.
â€œThe Tay is the first major river to open the salmon season and the celebrations and traditional procession add a real sense of occasion to the event which will hopefully inspire these young people who we are all pleased to welcome to Kenmore.â€
Constable George Knight of Strathclyde Police, who will accompany AFYD members, added:
â€œAFYD has proved extremely popular with young people across the East Renfrewshire region who have become hooked on fishing instead of other more anti-social activities they may have turned to. Local community police officers have launched the initiative in a variety of areas and we have seen the members gain a real sense of purpose from participating in its activities and having an interest to pursue. Since its launch in 2004, AFYD has demonstrated that involving youngsters in a pursuit that makes demands of them can raise their levels of confidence and social responsibility.â€
Commenting about the initiative, Grev Humphrey, a former Community Liaison Officer with Tayside Police, and an organiser of the opening of the salmon season said he hoped that AFYD would be launched in Tayside in 2006:
â€œI am an enthusiastic supporter of AFYD and its objectives. Sadly, for many reasons there has generally been a failure to provide sustainable facilities and activities that engage young people. There are exceptions to this such as the Arbroath Youth CafÃ© Project and Thrill Seekers in Blairgowrie, but many projects lose impetus without the correct support and funding. I would hope that introducing AFYD to the Tay will provide young people with an alternative activity that will enhance their personal sense of achievement and generate a positive attitude both towards and from their local communities.â€
Stephen McCaveny, Marketing Manager for Daiwa Sports Ltd, which is presenting AFYD members with new fishing rods and reels for the occasion, commented:
â€œThe Tay opening day, which is steeped in tradition and has been a privilege for all who attend, is making a welcomed focus on this youth initiative and is putting out a clear message that fishing truly is a sport for all.
â€œWe at Daiwa are delighted at the progress the AFYD programme has made, bringing young anglers into the sport. The supply of fishing tackle is only a small part of an overall effort that relies highly on the commitment of people's time and valuable experience. We wish them all the best and of course tight lines too.â€
The opening of the salmon season is sponsored by Dewar's World of Whisky at Aberfeldy Distillery and brings together anglers from across Scotland, representatives of many organisations for whom the preservation of the salmon is a top priority, and others who enjoy the fantastic spectacle of the first day procession from the village of Kenmore to the river.
Events on Monday 16 January will start at 10.00am when Prof David Bellamy will address assembled guests in Kenmore Village Square before leading a procession of pipers and anglers to the Tay at 10.15. At 10.30 Prof Bellamy will make a traditional blessing of the first fishing boat of anglers with a quaich of whisky. When this boat leaves to make the first cast of the season, guests and the public will then disperse along the river in search of the first elusive catch of the year with guests fishing on the south bank and public on the north. Shortly before the ceremony, fishing company Daiwa will present the fishing rods to the AFYD members.