Fishery owner takes over Tweed posts

TRIBUTES have been paid to the head of two of the River Tweed’s preservation groups, who has resigned after eight years in charge this month.

Andrew Douglas-Home has stepped down as chief commissioner of the River Tweed Commission (RTC) and chairman of the Tweed Foundation.

At Monday’s AGM of the RTC, proprietor of Abbey St Bathans fishery on the River Whiteadder, Douglas Dobie, was elected to take over both roles.

A spokesperson for the RTC said Mr Douglas-Home, 61, who is also involved in the renovation of Abbotsford House as a trustee, had overseen a huge amount of work and issues addressed.

Among them was the passing of legislation in 2006 – entitled The Tweed Order – which charged the RTC with increasing salmon, sea trout, trout and other fresh water fish in the river system.

It appears to have worked, with RTC’s annual report, released last month showing more than 16,000 salmon rod catches were made in 2011 – the second best ever recorded.

The spokesperson added: “Mr Douglas-Home also raised the profile of the risk to the river of the bug Gyrodactylus salaris, by ensuring that anglers coming from abroad were aware of the risks and had, if necessary, properly disinfected their fishing kit before using it on Tweed.

“Andrew Douglas-Home also dreamt up the idea and then led the initiative which saw the Tweed Foundation working with the Wheelyboat Trust to build an innovative design of boat for less able fishers that could be used in fast-flowing, spate rivers entirely safely.

“The first Tweed Wheelyboat, Tweedability I, was launched in October 2006 with the help of popular TV presenter, Chris Tarrant.

“Chris Tarrant, an avid fisherman, lent his services to the Tweed Foundation the following year to help host a major fundraising dinner in Kelso for the wheelyboats.”

In his final RTC annual report, Mr Douglas-Home said: “After eight years as chairman, it now only remains for me to bid farewell, especially to the incredibly loyal and diligent RTC and foundation staff, who have been a joy to work with and to whom I give my truly heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all that they have done for the Tweed, and to help me, over that time.

“I must add to that my committee members, without whose advice and wise counsel I would have blundered into even more unseen traps. I thank and will miss them all.”