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! AUCTION SAL ES. »

FRODSHAM.

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OUR SALMON FISHERY.

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OUR SALMON FISHERY. The Dee Fishery Board has taken a practical step in appointing a small committee to inspect the condition of the river so far as pollution is concerned. The report presented by that committee at Saturday's meeting will prove of valuable service in enabling the Board to influence the responsible local authorities in the watershed of the Dee with a view to sup- pressing the contamination which is being carried on in some places in a wholesale manner, to the manifest detriment of the fishery. Pollution and over-netting are by common consent admitted to be the leading causes of the decline of the salmon fishery in the Dee as elsewhere, and it is as important that the lower portion of the stream should be purged as the higher reaches. In the case of two works discharging an effluent into the lower river, the Committee found that trout died in the sample in the course of two and four minutes respectively. This is sufficiently strong evidence for a local authority to act upon, for the harm resulting from a continuous stream of such deliterious matter into the river channel must be simply incalculable. The members of the Fishery Board will find much valuable instruction and some solid comfort from a book just written by Mr. Augustus Grimble on The Salmon Rivers of Scotland." The author, who has added to his own wide personal experience the evidence of pro- prietors, fishing tenants, gillies and others, claims that the main cause of the falling off in the productiveness of most of the rivers is that the mouths of the streams are so festooned with nets that the salmon have no reasonable chance of entering, while the artificial hatching is inadequate. The case of the Aberdeenshire Dee is a remarkable one. Thirty years ago the angling in that river had dwindled to almost vanishing point, when the Dee District Salmon Fishery Improvement Association, with the Marquis of Huntly and Sir William Cunliffe Brooks at its head, took strong action. All the nets employed between the sea and Banohory, seventeen miles up, were gradually bought up, until in the course of ten years there was not a net above a mile from the mouth of the river. The change which has come over the face of the fishery of that stream is nothing short of marvellous, for it is now regarded as the best salmon river in all Scotland, in proof whereof it is stated that the angling rents have increased from £1,000 in 1871 to over 48,000 at the present time. That the notable improvement in the Dee fishing is the direct result of the wise action on the part of somebody, and is not traceable to the operation of some natural law is pretty well established by the condition of another Aber- deenshire river, the Don, which falls into the sea only two miles further north, and which would, therefore, presumably be subject to the same natural conditions. The present state of the Don as a salmon-producing river is deplorable. Paper mills and bleach works have been suffered to empty their pollution into the river, and to abstract large quantities of water, until the cruive fishings near the estuary have become insignificant, while those of the Harbour Commissioners on the Dee, only a few miles off, four years ago yielded fully 20,000 salmon and grilse. Many of the statements made in this book received ample corroboration the other day from evidence given before the Royal Commission on Salmon Fisheries sitting at Edinburgh. Two riparian proprietors on the Don gave it as their belief that the fishery of that river could be made as valuable as that of the Dee, if the pollution were only stopped. After this unmistakable testimony of the wonderful efficacy of purification aud protection, those interested in the welfare of our own Dee fish- ings may well takejieart for the future. If the local authorities of both the upper and the lower river would only apply the powers that they possess for the suppression of pollution, if the Fishery Board could afford to strengthen its staff of bailiffs, in order to checkmate the operations of the poachers, there is no reason, granted a liberal amount of artificial hatching, why the Chester Dee should not recover its pristine reputation as a salmon river.

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MUNICIPAL JOTTINGS. ♦

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CHESTER CATHEDRAL.

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