The original records of the Association have gone missing but folks memory suggests that it was founded in 1934 under the Chairmanship of Archibald D Macnair, JP, Provost of Campbeltown who was still the Chairman at the date of the first existing Minute of Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Association held in Glasgow on 16th April 1941. The secretary at that meeting was AlB Stewart, CBE, BL. This was to prove the start of the Stewart family’s long involvement with this post, a recent secretary being PLM Stewart, MBE WS DL, who was to hold the position for nigh on 40 years.
The Association’s main objective during the first forty years of its existence was the protection and preservation of the herring fishery and its fishermen in the Firth of Clyde and West of Scotland. The ring-net herring fishery which was so important on the West Coast had its origins in the waters of lower Loch Fyne as a result of the ingenuity of Tarbert fishermen. It is interesting to note that the Minute of Meeting of 15th August 1970 shows a determination to prevent the spread of mid-water trawling which very soon saw the end of that ring-net fishery.
A Minute of Meeting of 8th April 1962 refers to a proposed by-law for the Firth of Clyde allowing under certain conditions, trawling for prawns. The Nephrops fishery is now the major source of income for Clyde fishermen supported by a smaller but no less active scallop fishery.
The objectives of the Association have much expanded from the early days but the primary purpose remains the protection of a way of life centred on family fishing businesses supporting small communities on the Firth and adjacent shores.
The Association has provided two Presidents to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation. The first was the second Secretary of the Association, AlB Stewart, CBE, BL who was one of the Federation’s founding fathers and its first President. The other is a current Honorary President of the Federation, Cecil T Finn, OBE.
The Association is proud to be a founding member of the Federation and is its keen supporter in its promotion of the common interests of Scottish fishermen.