This book covers all the freshwater fish which are found in Scotland, including those which appear in fresh water from estuaries and the sea for short periods. It is the first comprehensive account of this important part of Scotland's biodiversity, dealing with the ecology, conservation and folklore of each species in some detail. Other chapters cover a range of associated topics.
The first, background, section of the book has chapters on 'fishy literature', 'what's it like to be a fish', 'fish ecology', 'lochs and rivers, ponds and burns', 'fish distribution' and 'first catch your fish'.
The middle section of the book, which deals with the 42 individual species which occur in Scotland, starts with a chapter on 'families of fish' and finishes with one on 'fish which did not stay'.
The final section of the book deals with the main issues concerning the freshwater fish of Scotland, including 'fish communities', 'threats to fish', 'fish and people', 'watching fish', 'fish and fishery management', 'fish conservation' - ending with a discussion of the future for Scotland's freshwater fish and fisheries. There is an extensive bibliography and an index.
The volume is well illustrated with the author's own line drawings and some attractive illustrations from old texts. The species chapters each have a photograph of a typical fish scale, and diagrams illustrating distribution in Scotland, food and growth. There are many fascinating quotes from the older literature, and numerous, sometimes amusing, true anecdotes of fishy experiences in Scotland, supplied over the years by the author's colleagues.
In this book, Peter Maitland has distilled a lifetime's experience, and the result is delightful... Apart from details of all Scotland's freshwater fish, native and introduced, there are readable chapters on ecology, fish communities, fish-watching and fish management; there is even a bit on the many long-gone fossil fish in Scotland's rocks... There won't be another book like it for a long time. - Peter Marren, British Wildlife October 2007.