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ASSOCIATION OF SALMON FISHERY BOARDS
RIVERS AND FISHERIES TRUSTS OF SCOTLAND

 
Monthly News Update
 
June 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 April update includes news about:

  • Wild Fisheries Reform and associated business
  • ASFB and RAFTS events and publications
  • Training
  • Projects

Policy and external engagement
 
During June, 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) – Scottish Government have now published a consultation paper which sets out the Government’s response to the independent Wild Fisheries Review and seeks views on a number of broad policy options for a new management system. The news release, which provides further information, can be found HERE. The consultation paper, along with further information on wild fisheries reform can be found on the Scottish Government website HERE. ASFB and RAFTS are presently taking member’s views on the proposals. A joint members’ meeting was held on 16 June and this was a useful meeting which discussed the key issues and agreed the approach both ASFB and RAFTS will take in response to the consultation – a record of that meeting may be viewed HERE. 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.
 
Joint Working Group – Some background information on the ASFB & RAFTS Joint Working Group (JWG) was provided in the May News Update – this 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 is meeting on a monthly basis and is developing some detailed ideas for wider discussion within the membership. The last meeting was held on 10 June and a copy of the minutes may be viewed HERE. Wider information on the JWG may be viewed HERE (ASFB) and HERE (RAFTS). The pages will be populated with more information in the coming weeks.
 
New fish introductions policy – Scottish Government have published a new policy on Introductions of fish to Scottish inland waters – a copy may be viewed HERE
 
Beavers - Options for the future of beavers in Scotland were outlined in a final report sent to the Scottish Government on 12 June by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The “Beavers in Scotland” report provides a comprehensive summary of existing knowledge about the likely impact of beavers living in the wild in Scotland and options for their management, and sets out four scenarios for Scottish Ministers to consider. These range from full removal of all beavers to the widespread reintroduction of beavers across Scotland. See a copy of the report HERE
 
PAW Poaching Sub Group - ASFB met with the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Poaching Sub Group on 30 June. ASFB will be contributing to work on impact statements relating to poaching, and this will help inform prosecutors and others on the economic, conservation and biological impacts of this activity.
 
The ASFB Management Committee and the RAFTS Board met on 10 and 24 June respectively, and discussed a range of matters, including the WFR, project development and internal management matters.
 
Projects
In-river barriers
 

  • RAFTS recently conducted interviews for the new post of Barriers Programme Officer, and we are in the final contractual stages with our preferred candidate.Notice periods dictate that the individual will not be in post until early September.This additional resource will provide us with the ability to continue to manage the current suite of RAFTS-led projects whilst also rolling out a programme of training, development and support to enable trusts to apply for and manage their own barrier/morphology projects.
  • RAFTS currently manages 6 ‘live’ projects concerning the easement or removal of in-river barriers to fish migration.These 6 projects encompass 13 currently impassable structures, and funding for scoping, design and physical works is provided through regular applications to the SEPA Water Environment Fund.
  • River Almond, West Lothian: 7 barriers – Phase 1 (initial surveys/sediment sampling) complete and formally reported by Mott MacDonald.Phase 2 (feasibility and optioneering) is moving along well, with all on-site surveys having been completed and many of the report appendices now in draft format.Two public meetings (Livingston and Cramond) have taken place, as has one steering group meeting involving project partners and structure owners.A presentation was also recently made to Edinburgh City Council, and dates are in place for a further two public meetings at which the results of optioneering will be presented.This phase of the project may be delayed slightly in terms of completion as a result of the need for local authorities to present preferred options to committee close to summer recess.However, measures are in place to minimise the impact of this delay on overall delivery.
  • River Avon, South Lanarkshire – 2 barriers: Phase 1 (feasibility and optioneering) is complete, and at a recent meeting between project partners it was agreed that, based upon preferred options for each site, the significantly delayed coring investigation work is no longer required.This decision has enabled the project to move forward once again.As stated previously, options for easement at each barrier have been agreed in principle by the project team, and a stakeholder meeting is being held in July to discuss these options.After the meeting, this phase of the project should come to an end and we can move forward to an application for design work.
  • River Don, Tullynessie Weir - 1 barrier: There is no further update for this project since the last newsletter - productive discussions have taken place regarding a way forward for this project in terms of local implementation and landowner negotiations, and it is hoped that the project will be back on-line in the short-term.
  • 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).Discussions with the structure owner now need to take place, and finalisation of the feasibility and optioneering draft report is yet to be completed.  This project phase is on-track to conclude in July 2015.
  • 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 to conclud 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.
  • An application was made to the SEPA Water Environment Fund in April. This is a RAFTS-led project (in collaboration with Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust) to remove a structure at Morsgail on the Isle of Lewis, and we anticipate a funding decision from SEPA imminently.RAFTS is also supporting an application submitted by Kyle of Sutherland Fisheries Trust to ease or remove a large barrier on the Diebidale Burn (Carron catchment), and again the result of this application is expected imminently.
 
Pearls in Peril (PiP) LIFE Project
 
  • First half of the month taken up by SRDP Agri-environment and Climate Scheme proposals for the Dee catchment, mainly to address diffuse pollution issues. 7 schemes were submitted by PiP APOs with an additional 5 in collaboration with other Advisory Agents.
  • Meetings and site visits in Upper Deeside to progress further riparian planting as well as address maintenance requirements for planting already carried out.
  • Visit to NTS HQ in Edinburgh to assist with SRDP Forestry Grant Scheme application for Mar Lodge Estate.
  • Completion of Angus Environmental Trust-funded riparian fencing to mitigate diffuse pollution along Quharity Burn, S Esk.
  • Completion of Woodland Trust-funded riparian tree planting on River Gairn.
  • PIP propose to remove 16 old cars, large quantities of concrete, rocks and boulders, and corrugated iron facing which have been used to re-inforce around 90 m of river bank on the River Dee between Braemar and Linn O’ Dee, on the Mar Lodge Estate.  In May a contractor was appointed, and a topographical survey was undertaken to inform detailed design drawings for the re-profiling of the river bank this autumn.  As well as removing waste from the river bank the works will allow the River Dee to re-connect with the floodplain during high flows.
  • On Mar Lodge Estate PIP are also proposing the setting back of flood embankments next to Mar Lodge in 2016.PIP and the DDSFB met with the National Trust for Scotland to discuss these and the aforementioned works.
  • PIP propose to re-meander around 350 m of the Allt an Slugain burn on the Invercauld Estate, near Braemar.  The proposed work include the removal of embankments, the reinstatement of a natural bank profile, and the installation of in-stream woody debris to increase habitat diversity.In May a contractor was appointed and the initial hydromorphological assessment carried out.The survey findings and restoration options will be discussed with the DDSFB and Invercauld Estate in June.
  • The tendering process to appoint a construction contractor for the croy removal at Banchory has been ongoing throughout May, with an informative site meeting.  A contractor will be appointed during the first week of June with works to remove/reduce 15 croys starting in August.
  • The tendering to appoint a construction contractor to remove 9 croys from the Sluie/Commonty beats of the River Dee has also commenced.
  • On the South Esk PIP are awaiting signed Management Agreements from the landowners before we can officially appoint a construction contractor.We hope to start in-stream works at the end of June to remove 873m of boulder bank protection.  Throughout May, PIP and EDSFB have been finalising details of the works with stakeholders.
  • A contractor has been appointed to carry out the removal/reduction of 15 croys at Banchory.  Works are due to start in August.
  • The PIP Project Officer (Scotland) attended the Banchory River Festival, joining the Dee Catchment Partnership Stand, to inform the public about the up-coming instream works.The stand included displays on PIP in stream restoration works, the freshwater pearl mussel lifecycle, Scottish Mink Initiative, domestic water use, what not to flush down your drains, and septic tanks.  Over 100 people came to the stand.
  • The Riverwatch event in Ardnamurchan was launched and 30 people attended.
  • Site visits were made to 8 SAC's by the Riverwatcher.
  • The first round of site visits has been completed and the second round has begun.
  • The Riverwatcher spoke about Pearls In Peril at a Buglife event.
  • The remaining Riverwatch launches have been organised.
 
Scottish Mink Initiative (SMI)
 
  • The quarterly report for the period March to May (inclusive) was prepared and subsequently accepted by the SMI steering group.
  • Coordinator prepared 4 out of 10 progress reports (for WSFT, WRFT, CFFT and NBFT) for the period September 2013 – April 2015.
  • Coordinator had meetings with WSFT, WRFT, CFFT and NBFT to discuss progress to date and provide support where required.
  • Coordinator attended the GBNNSS 12th Stakeholder Event.
  • Coordinator 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).
  • Equipment has been ordered.
  • At this time of year breeding female mink are nursing kits in the den and as such are very wary and do not hunt far from the natal den.It is therefore not surprising that only 13 mink sightings, no positive signs on rafts and no mink captures have been reported from across the SMI work area during June.
  • 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.
 
RAFTS Project Development
 
  • RAFTS is recruiting for the Project Development Officer post for the Scotland Invasive Species Initiative. Details of this position can be found at www.rafts.org.uk/rafts/vacancies
  • RAFTS is working 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 - 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.
     
    Bailiff examination - All bailiff examination papers have been assessed and candidates have been notified of their results. Certificates have now been issued to all successful candidates.
     
    Vacancies
    The Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association (LLAIA) has a vacancy for the post of water bailiff.  The LLAIA is one of the largest angling clubs in Scotland and leases salmon and sea trout fishing on the Rivers Endrick, Fruin and Leven as well as on Loch Lomond. More information HERE
     
    Upcoming dates and events
  • Operation of salmon nets – training days – Tweed catchment, 11 & 12 August 2015
  • 2nd International Sea Trout Symposium, Crown Plaza Hotel, Dundalk - 20-22 October 2015

 
 

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

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