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ASSOCIATION OF SALMON FISHERY BOARDS
RIVERS AND FISHERY TRUSTS OF SCOTLAND

 
Monthly News Update
 
May 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
  • Projects
Policy and external engagement 

ASFB and RAFTS have been in regular contact with Marine Scotland and other agencies on a number of issues including:
 
  • meetings relating to the wild fisheries review
  • Interactions Working Group on Aquaculture
  • Fish and Fisheries Advisory Group
  • Moray Firth Renewables Advisory Group
       
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 undertaking a preliminary scope of the proposals, and are initiating a process for gathering members’ views and how the response will reflect this. To this end, a special meeting has been organised for all ASFB and RAFTS members on 16 June, and all members have been contacted about this. The meeting will consider the approach to take in response to the consultation and identify the key issues. 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 will be essential.
 
Joint Working Group - As reported in the last update, ASFB and RAFTS have formed a joint Working Group (JWG) to develop ideas and identify information requirements needed to inform the decision making process for the WFR within both organisations. The aim is to give the members and their representatives an informed baseline from which to develop their response to proposals arising from the review and ensure they best meet our fishery management interests. A dedicated page on both ASFB and RAFTS websites has been launched to ensure all information on the ASFB and RAFTS input is freely available – the relevant page on each website is HERE (ASFB) and HERE (RAFTS). The pages will be populated with more information in the coming weeks.
 
Response to Petition PE01558 RAFTS submitted a response to petition ‘PEO1558: American Signal Crayfish’ submitted by John Thom on behalf of the RNBCC Crayfish Committee. The petition calls on Scottish Government to amend the existing licencing regime to allow for the commercial trapping of American Signal Crayfish in Scotland. RAFTS submission supported that made by several member Trusts and can be viewed here.
 
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
 
Members - ASFB attended a number of Board meetings during May, including the Spey and Northern DSFBs.
 
Projects


In-river barriers

New post - RAFTS conducted interviews in early June for the new post of Barriers Programme Officer.  It is hoped that the successful candidate will be in post in July.  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 at its mid-point, with all on-site surveys completed.  Two public meetings (Livingston and Cramond) have taken place, as has one steering group meeting involving project partners and structure owners.  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, with the exception of some coring investigations that continue to be hampered by river conditions.  Levels are being assessed on a daily basis by Atkins Ltd and as soon as the specialist coring sub-contractors are able to (under health and safety protocols), this work will be carried out.  Subject to the findings, it is proposed that a Phase 2 (design) tender will be advertised in the coming months.  A meeting of project partners will take place in the week commencing 8th June to discuss the delay due to coring issues and agree on a way forward to enable delivery of this phase in the short-term.

River Don, Tullynessie Weir - 1 barrier: Productive discussions have taken place regarding a way forward for this project in terms of local implementation and landowner negotiations, and it is expected 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 will take place in mid-June.  This project phase is on-track to conclude in mid-Summer 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, curing of the structure and full walkover surveys. We anticipate work on this phase of the project concluding in late summer.

Corrie Burn Weir, Spey – 1 barrier: This project remains on hold while RAFTS and SEPA determine 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.

Outer Hebrides - 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 in late June.  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 in late June.
 
Pearls in Peril (PiP) LIFE Project

•        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 and works to remove/reduce 15 croys will begin in August.

•        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.  It is hoped that in-stream works will begin at the end of June to remove 873 m of boulder bank protection.  Throughout May, PIP and EDSFB have been finalising details of the works with stakeholders.

•        SRDP Agri-environment and Climate Scheme proposals for the Dee catchment, mainly to address diffuse pollution issues.

•        Meetings and site visits in Upper Deeside to progress further riparian planting as well as address maintenance requirements for planting already carried out.

•        Small tree enclosures in remote Glen Ey progressing now that it’s (hopefully) snow-free.

•        Plans for riparian woodland site in Glen Clova being finalised.

•        Riverwatcher made site visits to Foinaven, Naver and Borgie SACs also to Moidart, Glen Mama and Rannoch Moor SACs

•        Launched North Coast Riverwatch Scheme.

•        Had a Riverwatch Stand at Public Event: Festival of Museums, Strathnaver Museum.

•        The Fort William Area Riverwatch scheme was launched in collaboration with National Trust Scotland Rangers.

Scottish Mink Initiative (SMI)

•        Coordinator has been cleaning the data collected by fisheries trust since the beginning of SMI Phase 2 (September 2013).

•        Coordinator attended (with Lynn Brydon, CFFT) the Citizen Science Event held by SNH at Battleby.

•        Coordinator working with University of Aberdeen re: re-building of the on-line database (Minkapp).

•        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 5 mink sightings, 4 positive signs on rafts and 2 mink captures have been reported from across the SMI work area during May.

•        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 has requested permission to start the Development Phase of the HLF funded Scotland Invasive Species Initiative (SISI).  We expect that this will be granted in early June 2015.
 
Training

Bailiff examination - All bailiff examination papers have been assessed and candidates have been notified of their results. Certificates will be with all successful candidates by mid-June.
 
Upcoming dates and events
 
  • ASFB and RAFTS  members meeting: Tuesday 16 June, 10.00, Battleby, By Perth
  • 12th Stakeholder Forum on Non-Native Species to be held at The Royal College of Surgeons, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh on Tuesday 16 June 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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