Declaration of the gentry and burghs regarding the reserved fishings

The which day some of the nobility, gentry and commissioners for the burghs, compearing personally before the lords of privy council, gave in to the said lords the declaration underwritten regarding the reserved fishings, of the which the tenor follows:

Whereas the lords of his majesty's most honourable secret council have desired a number of the nobility, gentry and commissioners of the free burghs to declare their opinion regarding the fishing necessary to be reserved for the particular use of the country of Scotland, they, having convened and taken the same to their consideration, declare that the fishings of the firths of Lothian lying between the heads of St Abb's Head in the Merse upon the south and the Red Head in Angus upon the north, and within the course between the said heads; the fishings of Moray Firth lying between Buchan Ness in Buchan and Duncansby Head in Caithness, and within the course between the said heads; and the fishing within Dumbarton Firth lying between the Mull of Kintyre and Mull of Galloway, and the course within the said two points, are so necessary to this country that the same cannot subsist if the same be communicated to any other nation and not reserved for the proper use of the natives. They likewise declare that it is necessary for the well of the said fishings within the foresaid firths that 14 miles be reserved likewise to the natives without the course between the said St Abb's Head and Red Head and between Buchan Ness and Duncansby Head, yet herein they submit themselves to his majesty's gracious determination. And further it is declared that in the space between Red Head and Buchan Ness there is an absolute necessity of reservation of 14 miles off the said coast both for the daily use of the inhabitants dwelling upon the said coast for their sustentation, as likewise for the good of the salmon fishing in the rivers of Dee, Don, Ivie2 and both the Esks, which by encroaching of the bushes nearer the shore than the said distance may be altogether undone, to the great prejudice of the whole kingdom, being one of the most prime native commodities of this land. And as for the Isles of Orkney and Shetland and remaining isles and lochs therein and in the mainland facing the same, they agree that the same be remitted to the commissioners of burghs for their further advice and declaration. And lastly it is humbly desired that the lords of his majesty's most honourable privy council would be pleased to recommend to the commissioners for this kingdom to intercede with his majesty for such retribution as can be had for the benefit granted to the English upon this our coast.

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.27r-v.
  2. Possibly the River Ythan.