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Top financier joins Spey Catchment Initiative

By Alistair Whitfield

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Martin Gilbert will begin working with the SPpey Cathcment Initiative.
Martin Gilbert will begin working with the SPpey Cathcment Initiative.

A well-known north east financier has been appointed to oversee what's been described as the "most exciting development on Speyside for many years".

Martin Gibert will officially take up the role of chairman of the Spey Catchment Initiative's board of trustees next month.

As well as a keen fisherman and environmentalist, he co-founded Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983.

Additionally, he's the chairman of Revolut, Toscafund, the Net Zero Technology Centre and Scottish Golf.

His role with the Spey Catchment Initiative will involve overseeing its strategy, governance and financial stewardship.

Speaking about his appointment, Martin said: "Atlantic salmon are in crisis, not just here in Scotland but across their whole North Atlantic range. I will be working hard to reverse their fortunes and to restore our rivers to their former glory."

The SCI, which has recently become a charity, has been delivering various conservation projects to restore salmon and other threatened species, as well generally make the area more resilient to the ravages of climate change.

To increase the numbers of microbes and insects which constitute the salmon's diet, a number of trees have been felled, then with their roots still attached, placed at strategic points within the waters of the Spey and tributaries such as the Calder.

Ewan Harris, a director at Savills who chairs the SCI's steering group, said: "Martin's vast experience and reputation for dynamic leadership will help us to deliver large-scale restoration projects that benefit the whole Spey catchment, its wildlife, and communities."

Meanwhile, Dr Sandy Scott, who chairs the Spey Fishery Board, said: "Anglers from across the world visit each year to fish for salmon, providing the backbone of our local economy.

"So, we must do all we can to help our Atlantic salmon – an iconic species sadly now in crisis. As a committed angler, Martin will always have this in mind."

Related article: WATCH: Could new initiative restore Moray salmon numbers?

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