Read below the latest news from ASFB and RAFTS.

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ASSOCIATION OF SALMON FISHERY BOARDS
RIVERS AND FISHERIES TRUSTS OF SCOTLAND

 
Monthly News Update
 
August 2015

Welcome to the monthly update from ASFB and RAFTS. 
 

There is a lot happening in Scotland's fishery management sector. This update provides a snapshot of current activity. We hope that you find it interesting and informative.

The August update includes news about:

  • Wild Fisheries Reform and associated business
  • Training
  • Projects
  • Vacancies

Policy and external engagement
 
During August, ASFB and RAFTS were in regular contact with Marine Scotland and other agencies on a number of issues. These mainly focussed on meetings relating to the wild fisheries reform (see more details below).
          
Wild Fisheries Reform (WFR) – ASFB and RAFTS submitted their final responses to the consultation on the reform proposals. Copies of each response can be viewed HERE and HERE respectively.
 
Licensed killing of salmon - Scottish Government provided formal notice of proposals for implementing the system of kill licences for 2016. The notice period is now formally closed, and we understand that a number of members made representations and objections. Further information on the detailed implementation plans are awaited.
 
Joint Working Group – The group last met on 11 August and the minutes from that meeting have now been published and can be viewed HERE.  Discussions are focussing on the form and function of new organisations and geographic coverage. Both Alan Wells and Andrew Henderson joined the meeting and provided useful clarification on a number of matters. Wider information on the JWG may be viewed HERE (ASFB) and HERE (RAFTS). The Group has been commissioning professional and legal advice to help in developing the understanding on future options for management. This advice has been circulated to members for their use, and this will undoubtedly require further discussion and refinement.
 
The ASFB and RAFTS Chairmen have made time available to discuss the reform proposals and implications for Boards and Trusts. This had been well received by a number of members and potential partnerships and rationalisation of areas are being discussed in a largely positive and helpful way. Further discussions are planned and consideration will be given to producing draft ideas on this subject which have been generated locally, with the consent of those involved and only after most of these local discussions had been completed. It is clearly desirable that the sector should come up with its own ideas on this matter rather than have solutions imposed on it. This required the sector to respond positively and quickly to this challenge. 

Projects
In-river barriers

 

  • Our new Barriers Programme Officer (Peter Series) spent last week with RAFTS undertaking an induction programme. Peter met some of our key partners and visited some important structures within the central belt. He rejoins us on 7th September to begin his role, and we look forward to that.
  • RAFTS currently manages 7 ‘live’ projects concerning the easement or removal of in-river barriers to fish migration. These 7 projects encompass 14 currently impassable structures, and funding for scoping, design and physical works is provided through regular applications to the SEPA Water Environment Fund (‘WEF’).
  • River Almond, West Lothian: 7 barriers – Phase 1 (initial surveys/sediment sampling) complete and formally reported by Mott MacDonald. Phase 2 (feasibility and optioneering) fieldwork is complete, and this phase has now reached the second draft-report stage. A public meeting took place in Livingston in mid-August during which some proposed options were presented, and a similar meeting in Cramond is imminent. The next step will be to finalise the Atkins report (this task is nearing completion) and then close the feasibility and optioneering phase. Further discussion with structure owners will take place before progression towards the design phase can take place.
  • River Avon, South Lanarkshire – 2 barriers: Phase 1 (feasibility and optioneering) is complete, and this phase of the project has now formally ended. Following a stakeholder meeting in July strong support for preferred options at both sites was expressed. RAFTS and SEPA have met with structure owners at both sites and these individuals have given their support for the project to move forward towards a design phase. RAFTS has made an application for funding to WEF, and we await the results of this application.
  • River Don, Tullynessie Weir - 1 barrier: The River Dee Trust has agreed to fill the role of local implementer on behalf of the River Don Trust. The Dee will be meeting with local landowners shortly and will then look to move forward in partnership with RAFTS to deliver the design and build phases by next summer.
  • Gottar Water Weir, Inverclyde - 1 barrier: Phase 1 (feasibility and optioneering) application was approved in late 2014, and the tender was awarded to Royal Haskoning DHV in spring 2015. Initial walkover surveys took place some weeks ago (including ecological survey and sediment sampling) and a successful public engagement meeting was held on-site. Since this time, further coring and geomorphological studies have been completed, and all on-site work is now at an end. A second public engagement meeting was held in mid-June, and the preferred option for easement was presented (and fully supported). However, the estimated costs associated with the preferred option are proving to be prohibitive. Additional costing for further feasible options have now been provided by the consultant, but costs remain prohibitive from a cost-benefit perspective. Further internal discussion is ongoing to determine a way forward for the project.
  • Creamery Weir, Dumfries & Galloway - 1 barrier: Phase 2 (design) application was approved in late 2014. The tender was awarded to JBA Consulting in mid-April, and a number of surveys have already taken place including ecology and geomorphology assessments, coring of the structure and full walkover surveys. Currently JBA Consulting are working to input the survey data into two hydraulic models to assess the impact of removal on the upstream and downstream reach. We anticipate work on this phase of the project will conclude in the next month.
  • Corrie Burn Weir, Spey – 1 barrier: RAFTS, SEPA and The Spey Foundation are meeting with Moray Council and Diageo in early September to discuss the project and, it is hoped, come to agreement on a way forward that meets project objectives whilst mitigating the concerns of all parties.
  • Morsgail Barrier, Isle of Lewis – 1 barrier: Approval was received this month for an application made to the WEF in April. This concerns a structure on the Isle of Lewis, and the project is in collaboration with Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust. Work is now beginning to produce a tender document and project outline, and it is expected that this project will go to tender in September for feasibility, optioneering and outline design. RAFTS staff will be visiting the site in early September, enabling a fully-informed tender process to then commence.
  • RAFTS continues to provide technical support to Kyle of Sutherland Fisheries Trust on their WEF-funded project to enable fish to migrate upstream of Diebidale Dam on the Carron system.
Pearls in Peril (PiP) LIFE Project
 
  • Works on the River South Esk (Glen Clova) and its’ White Water (Glen Doll) tributary have been completed.  13 sections of boulder bank protection, totalling 873 m have been removed and the banks re-profiled.  In addition 3 paleaochannels have been re-connected in the river. 150 native riparian trees will be planted at Acharn, Glen Doll in September.
  • A contractor has been appointed to carry out the removal of cars and waste from 90 m of riverbank on the Mar Lodge Estate, River Dee. Works are due to take place from mid-September.
  • Works are ongoing for the removal of 9 croys at Sluie and Commonty, River Dee and 16 croys at Banchory.
  • Site visits to potential sites on Deeside for diffuse pollution mitigation where SRDP funding is not appropriate are being investigated.
  • Further development of plans for woodland compartments on upper Dee tributaries, particularly Gairn & Geldie.
  • The Moriston Riverwatch Scheme was launched.
  • Riverwatcher carried out visit to North Harris SAC.
  • All site reports for the PiP Project have been updated.
  • All project actions and evidence for Riverwatch Post compiled.
  • Riverwatcher visited 3 remaining SAC's: Kerry, Oykel and Evelix.
  • Riverwatch Schemes promoted at Moy Game Fair.
  • The Riverwatcher post came to an end as at 31st August.
Scottish Mink Initiative (SMI)
 
  • The quarterly report for the period May – July (inclusive) was prepared and subsequently accepted by the SMI steering group.
  • Coordinator continues to working with University of Aberdeen re: re-building of the on-line database (Minkapp).
  • Coordinator attended Moy Game Fair to help promote SMI.
  • Coordinator collected equipment made by Scottish Prison Service and delivered it to River Dee Trust (for River Dee Trust and Matt Oliver), Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust (for Cromarty Firth, West Sutherland and Wester Ross) and Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust.
  • Mink sightings, signs and captures are usually higher during August as female mink teach their young to hunt and the juveniles subsequently begin to disperse to establish their own territories.This August 12 mink sightings (from Conon, Don, Gruinard, Lossie, Ness, North Esk and Stonehaven) only 2 of which were family groups, 4 positive signs on rafts (on the Tay and in West Sutherland) and 4 mink captures (1 on the Tay, 2 on the Dee and 1 on the Stonehaven and Portlethen) have been recorded.
  • Many fisheries trusts continue to promote and raise awareness of the SMI in a number of ways e.g. school visits, meetings, presentations, events, websites and social media.
Many thanks to the fisheries trusts involved with the Scottish Mink Initiative: West Sutherland Fisheries Trust; Wester Ross Fisheries Trust; Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trust; Ness & Beauly Fisheries Trust; Findhorn, Nairn & Lossie Fisheries Trust; Spey Foundation; Deveron, Bogie & Isla Fisheries Trust; River Dee Trust; Esk Rivers & Fisheries Trust and Matt Oliver who covers the Ugie and Ythan catchments.
 
RAFTS Project Development
 
  • RAFTS has successfully recruited Meryl Norris for the Project Development Officer post for the Scotland Invasive Species Initiative. Meryl will take up her post on the 14th of September 2015
  • RAFTS is continuing to work with west coast Trusts and Boards to develop a proposal for work on interactions between sea lice infections on wild and farmed salmonids starting in 2016.
  • RAFTS is also working with the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust to explore synergies between the coastal water work of west coast Trusts and Boards and inshore fisheries monitoring.
     
Training
 
Bailiff training – salmon nets – IFM, in conjunction with RTC and ASFB, hosted a very interesting training event on 11 & 12 August to consider all aspects of nets associated with the capture of salmon – both legal and illegal operation. Much was learned about the technical, legal and operational issues surrounding all types of net fishing in Scotland. The Tweed Foundation hosted the netting operations at Paxton on the lower Tweed, and demonstrated the tagging and release work on a number of salmon taken in the net and coble fishery. It is the intention to run similar courses in the future, and these will begin to form a more structured programme of Continuous Professional Development for enforcement and fishery management activity.
 
Bailiff Development Group – Scottish Government are kindly hosting the next meeting of the Bailiff development Group on 10 September. This will consider a range of matters relating to bailiff examinations, the annual seminar, training and other matters. Further information on the Group may be viewed HERE
 
Upcoming dates and events
 
  • 2nd International Sea Trout Symposium, Crown Plaza Hotel, Dundalk - 20-22 October 2015
  • ASFB and RAFTS AGM – 3 November 2015 (venue tbc)
 


 

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The Water Environment Fund assists environmental projects delivered by RAFTS and members.

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