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ASSOCIATION OF SALMON FISHERY BOARDS
RIVERS AND FISHERIES TRUSTS OF SCOTLAND

 
Monthly News Update
 
July 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 July update includes news about:

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

Policy and external engagement
 
During July, ASFB and RAFTS were in regular contact with Marine Scotland and other agencies on a number of issues. These included meetings relating to the wild fisheries review (see more details below).
      
Wild Fisheries Reform (WFR) – ASFB and RAFTS are presently taking member’s views on the proposals and a framework draft response has been produced for member’s comment and to help guide thinking. The consultation closes on 7 August. This is a challenging timescale, given the need for consultation and discussion with the respective memberships, and the co-operation and input from Boards and Trusts on this fundamentally important package of proposals is essential.
 
Licensed killing of salmon - Scottish Government formally provided notice of proposals for implementing the system of kill licences for 2016. The key features are:
 

  • A proposal to prohibit the killing of salmon out-with estuary limits. This will effectively ban all fixed engine net fisheries.
  • An undertaking to introduce a licensing and tagging system for fish that are to be taken.
  • Information on licences, the licensing process and how they will be based on the ‘exploitable surplus’ principle.
  • No immediate measures will be introduced on baits and lures regulations to accompany catch and release.
  • More detail will be emerging through a discussion forum set up by Government which will encourage public dialogue.
ASFB issued a news release following this announcement – see HERE
 
Joint Working Group – As reported previously, this Group was formed to help develop ideas and identify information requirements needed to inform the decision making process for the WFR within both organisations. The JWG next meets on 11 August and the minutes from that meeting will be published as soon as possible thereafter. Previous minutes may be viewed HERE. Including the last meeting held on 1 July. 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 first Bulletin on WFR was produced by ASFB and RAFTS – a copy can be viewed HERE.
 
Projects

In-river barriers 
RAFTS is pleased to announce that Peter Series will be joining us from 1st September 2015 as Barriers Programme Officer.  Peter is currently an Associate Land Agent with Savills, and has extensive experience in landowner/stakeholder liaison, project management of grant-funded design and construction works and contract negotiation and implementation.  We look forward to welcoming him on board.
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 draft-report stage.  This draft has been presented to the steering group who then met to discuss it, and detailed feedback is being provided to Atkins Ltd to inform changes to the report.  Dates are in place for a further two public meetings at which the results of optioneering will be presented.  Non-local authority structure owners are being approached again this week for further discussion on options for each structure.
  • 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 will now meet with structure owners at both sites to ensure that formal support is obtained prior to moving forward with the design phase of the project.
  • River Don, Tullynessie Weir - 1 barrier: A way forward has been defined for this project, and following a meeting in August a further update will be made available detailing the process.
  • 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.  RAFTS has requested additional costings of other options (supported by WEF) to place the cost into context and allow further internal discussion.  Until this work is complete, further discussions with the structure owners cannot take place.
  • 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 late summer.
  • Corrie Burn Weir, Spey – 1 barrier: There is no further update for this project since the last newsletter - this project remains on hold whilst SEPA determines a way forward in collaboration with the local authority.  The project needs to address the concerns of Moray Council as the structure is situated close to the foot of a wall which supports a public road.  SEPA and RAFTS will be meeting with Moray Council shortly to determine a way forward.
  • 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 August for Feasibility, optioneering and outline design.
  • RAFTS is also providing 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
 
  • On the River South Esk at Moulzie, Glen Clova 375 m of boulder bank protection has been removed and the banks re-profiled.One palaeochannel has been re-connected to the river.The flood of Friday 17th March has ensured that natural process is well and truly restored.
  • On the River South Esk tributary, the White Water, Acharn, Glen Doll 356 m of boulder bank protection has been removed and banks re-profiled.  A further 142m is to be removed and 2 palaeochannels will be re-connected by the first week in August.
  • Lorna was interviewed by Euan McIlwraith from the BBC Radio Scotland ‘Out of Doors’ programme about the restoration works. The date of the broadcast was Saturday 1 August - available on iplayer.
  • Tender submissions have been received for 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.
  • Preparations are ongoing for the removal of 9 croys at Sluie & Commonty, River Dee and 15 croys at Banchory – works for these are due to start in August.
  • Fencing for 160 small tree enclosures in Glen Ey, Upper Deeside is now complete, trees will be planted November onwards.
  • Tender for riparian woodland and water margin tree planting along Rottal and Cormandy Burns, Glen Clova, South Esk, has been issued.
  • Woodland creation proposals along several Upper Dee tributaries are being developed.
  • Potential sites on Deeside for diffuse pollution mitigation where SRDP funding is not appropriate are being investigated.
  • Date for autumn workshop in Deeside covering freshwater pearl mussel and diffuse pollution has been set.
  • Launched South Esk Riverwatch Scheme at Scottish Wildlife Trust Montrose.
  • Carried out second round of site visits to: Ardnamurchan, South Esk, Glen Leraig, Badnaban and Clashnessie, Foinaven and Harris.
  • Put up posters at tourist information in Stornoway and Tarbert.
  
Scottish Mink Initiative (SMI)
 
  • Coordinator prepared another 4 out of 10 progress reports (for FNLFT, SF, DBIFT and ERFT) for the period September 2013 – April 2015 – 2 out of 10 yet to be completed.
  • Coordinator had meetings with FNLFT, SF, DBIFT and ERFT to discuss progress to date and provide support where required.
  • Coordinator prepared ‘SMI Autumn Newsletter’.
  • Coordinator continues to working with University of Aberdeen re: re-building of the on-line database (Minkapp).
  • Coordinator has attended 2 meetings re: Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI).
  • We expect an increase in mink sightings in July as the young leave the natal den and explore their mother’s territory.The mother will teach her young to hunt before they disperse to establish their own territories – a family group is far more likely to be spotted than a solitary individual.It is therefore not surprising that 12 mink sightings (from Gruinard, North Esk, Ness, Spey, Tay and Troup) 8 of which were family groups, with 1 family having 9 members, 5 positive signs on rafts (on the Tay, Dee and Lossie) and 6 mink captures (1 on the Ness, 2 on North Esk and 3 on the South Tay) were reported during July.
  • 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 Don, Ugie and Ythan catchments.
 
Training
 
Bailiff training – salmon nets - A training event will take place on 11 & 12 August which has been developed specifically to cover all aspects of nets associated with the capture of salmon.  The subject of legally used nets associated with the capture of salmon and sea trout on the coast, estuaries and in river environment will be covered along with those nets that are illegal but often used in the commission of offences throughout Scotland. This course is intended for all fishery enforcement staff and those who have to deal with issues associated with the illegal taking of fish by use of nets.  The course will provide a better understanding of the legal status of some nets and the subtleties of how slight changes in the operation can considerably increase their efficiency and bring into question their legality. The course will take place in the Tweed Catchment and specific details of timings will be provided as soon as possible. If you wish to register interest, please let Brian Davidson brian@asfb.org.uk or Jim Henderson board@river-nith.com know.
 
Vacancies

Recent vacancies include positions on the Annan, Tay and Forth - more information HERE
 
Upcoming dates and events
 
  • Operation of salmon nets – training days – River Tweed Commission Office, Drygrange, Melrose, 11 & 12 August 2015
  • 2nd International Sea Trout Symposium, Crown Plaza Hotel, Dundalk - 20-22 October 2015

OUR SUPPORTERS

The Fishmongers’ Company support the work of ASFB & RAFTS

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

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