Anglers have caught a break at a popular Fife fishing spot after plans to terminate fish stocks at Lochore Meadows have been reversed.
Fife Council confirmed it would no longer subsidise Rainbow Trout fishing at the park as of April 1.
But, following an emergency motion brought to the Cowdenbeath Area Committee by Councillor Mark Hoods, supported by committee members, Fife Council has agreed to continue stocking the loch for the coming season.
Councillor Hood said: “There was a decision made to save money from a review of fishing at Lochore which was agreed in the budget.
“The decision to stop all permit fishing was taken by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) who manage Lochore Meadows for Fife Council.
“However following discussions with the local fishing community and with their support, I believe that we can agree a new sustainable operating model that allows good quality fishing to continue in the park.”
Previous complaints that the loch was stocked insufficiently are being further investigated and although the group say it is too early to be specific they claim there is potential to increase the level of fish in the loch to achieve a self sustaining level.
The purchase of fish would then not be necessary.
The loch had been used by anglers for around 30 years but FFCT conceded it had been used less by fishing clubs over recent years.
A volunteer bailiff programme had been in place to address poachers, however “due to the use of volunteers, enforcement and management of the programme has been very challenging”.
“This is one of the challenges we will have,” admitted Cllr Hood. “But there are options that we will explore with the fishing community.
“Using the expertise of the local fishing community I believe a sustainable model can be found and fishing developed at the park.
“We have made a great deal of progress in the last couple of weeks so I am sure that we can find a permanent solution in the next year.”
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust will continue to manage the loch on behalf of Fife Council for the coming year.
Fishing will remain free of charge and any season tickets already purchased for 2016 will be refunded in full.
The 260 acre loch at the heart of Lochore Meadows offers both bank and boat fishing and has been stocked with Rainbow trout. One solution to reducing the cost of stocking the loch would be to develop the loch into a self-sustaining model using the hardy trout. Easy to spawn, fast growing and tolerant to a wide range of environments trout can be artificially spawned in culture systems or hatcheries.