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Board Members

Board members are elected triennially with the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 specifying who may stand for election, how many may be elected and how many may represent the lower and upper proprietors. The latest elections took place in September 2019. Board members are all volunteers and are non-remunerated for their time and effort. The elected board members subsequently elect one of the members to be their chairman. The current board members are as follows:

Representatives of Upper Proprietors Michael Martin, Chairman (Mandate Dochfour, River Ness)

David Sutherland (Proprietor Ness Castle, River Ness)

Scott Mackenzie (Mandate Ness-side, River Ness)

Angus McGruer  (Proprietor, River Oich)

Steven Gray (Mandate, River Moriston)

Paul Williamson (Proprietor, River Garry)

Representatives of Lower Proprietors Cllr Janet Campbell (Mandate Highland Council, River Ness)
Co-optees of salmon Anglers and Tenant Netsmen Graeme Sutherland (Salmon Netsmen)

Graham Mackenzie (Ness District Anglers)

Billy Orrock (Inverness Angling Club)

The River Director and Clerk attend Board meetings without voting powers. Although not a legal requirement, the Ness DSFB invites further representation onto the board in a non-voting capacity:

Non-voting Attendees Dr Alastair Stephen (Scottish and Southern Energy)

Kenneth Knott (Forestry and Land Scotland)

Nathan Mclaughlan (Scottish Natural Heritage)

Dr Melanie Smith (UHI Inverness College)

Andrew Steel (Scottish Environment Protection Agency)

Board Staff

The board employs a number of full and part time staff responsible for the day to day management and delivery of its core duties and responsibilities:

Director & Clerk

Chris Conroy BSc (Hons) MSc MIFM

Appointed as River Director and Clerk to the Ness DSFB in 2013, Chris is responsible for the executive management of the board’s affairs. He has over 20 years of practical experience specialising in fisheries science, management and enforcement.

He gained an Applied Biology degree at Liverpool John Moore’s University, during which he worked in the Environment Agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory. He secured a role within the Agency’s Thames Tideway team in London, before returning to university and securing a Master’s degree in Aquatic Resource Management from King’s College, London.

He then worked as Fisheries Technical Specialist and Biodiversity Team Leader in Kent area of the Agency. Following a period as a Principal Environmental Consultant for Capita Symonds and Cascade Consulting, he was appointed as Superintendent for the River Naver Fisheries, Sutherland.

Telephone:        01463 861245

Mobile:                07944  617202


Head Water Bailiff

John MacColl

John has been Head Water Bailiff for the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board for over 20 years.  His responsibilities include the day-to-day management of our field team, ensuring the practical delivery of our fisheries enforcement and river management strategies.

Originally from Dingwall, John has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Ness system. Having been a game keeper and ghillie for 20 years prior to his time on the Ness, John brings a broad understanding of wildlife and countryside issues.

John is particularly passionate about the promotion of catch and release, introducing a number of successful voluntary initiatives to the Ness system over the years.

Mobile:                07789 006078

Fisheries Officer

Chris Daphne

Chris took up the new SSE funded position of Fisheries Officer with the Ness DSFB in June 2019. He is responsible for assisting in the protection, monitoring and management of wild salmon and sea trout populations and their habitats in the rivers, lochs and coastal areas of the Ness district.

He has over 15 years’ experience in fisheries management and has worked for the River Conon District Salmon Fishery Board as a Water Bailiff and with the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust as an Assistant Biologist. He then worked as the LIFE + funded Perils in Peril Project ‘River Watcher’, before spending five years as a biologist with the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust.

During this time Chris has gained SFCC accreditations in electro-fishing (for which he is a trainer), habitat surveying and has completed the SNIFFER barrier assessment course. He holds both the IFM certificate and diploma along with a HNC in Fish Production Management.

Mobile:               07808 762052


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