Policy and external engagement
During March and April, ASFB and RAFTS were in regular contact with Marine Scotland and other agencies regarding a number of issues. These mainly focussed on meetings relating to the wild fisheries reform (WFR - see more details below).
Joint Working Group – The group continues to develop its thinking on aspects relating to fisheries reform. The key issues for the group are assessing current finances and where gaps might exist for a future fisheries management model, form and function of new organisations, representation on new organisations and discussion on the current proposals for conservation limits for salmon fishery management. The Group last met on 14 April and the most recent approved minutes can be viewed HERE. Wider information on the JWG may be viewed HERE (ASFB) and HERE (RAFTS).
Wild Fisheries Reform and Stakeholder Reference Group – ASFB, RAFTS and other members within our network continue to develop ideas and influence the reform process via the Joint Working Group (links above) and the Stakeholder Reference Group. There are a variety of downloadable documents which describe the areas under discussion – these include the published minutes and also 3 papers produced by the Group on functions of future management, structure and representation on future bodies and the concept of an anglers management and development levy – all information can be viewed HERE). The Stakeholder Reference Group will also be setting up a range of technical working groups to involve a wide range of experience from across the network in a variety of different subject areas. This will be reported on shortly.
There is now also much improved dialogue between Scottish Government, Marine Scotland Science and the ASFB/RAFTS biologist network on the debate over conservation limits and their associated conservation plans and other technical matters. This is being achieved through a representative biologist group which is now meeting regularly.
Consultation on draft Wild Fisheries (Scotland) Bill/Strategy – Following extensive engagement with the membership, ASFB submitted its formal response to the consultation on 2 May. A copy of the response may be viewed HERE
Bailiff Development Group – the Group last met on 13 April. The principal focus of discussion was input to the current consultation on the draft bill and strategy. The Group also consulted widely with the Scotland-wide bailiff network on a draft response, specifically on the law enforcement aspects of the proposals. A copy of the response, and most recent published minutes of the Group may be viewed HERE.
- River Almond, West Lothian: 6 barriers –Project managed by RAFTS, but funded by both SEPA WEF and HLF as part of a wider River Forth Fisheries Trust programme of work across their trust area. Phase 3 (design) has been split into 3 separate work packages. Work Packages 2 and 3 covered weirs in west Lothian, and outline designs have been completed. Work Package 1 covers two weirs in Cramond, with a scope to progress the work to detailed design. Delivery of this work package has been delayed for a number of reasons, but the work will be completed in June. As per previous updates, a decision will then be made as to how physical works phases will be delivered (and by whom). All 6 weirs are council-owned, and recent clarification of WEF funding principles has confirmed that they are therefore no longer eligible for WEF funding.
- River Avon, South Lanarkshire – 2 barriers: Design work for these two barriers was completed by the end of February. Following consultation with major stakeholders and a public meeting, progression into the supervisory/works phase is well underway. A works contractor will be contracted by the end of May, and site mobilisation/access preparation will take place. Works will commence in late June/early July, and run through until September.
- River Don, Tullynessie Weir - 1 barrier: Feedback from project partners has been addressed by the design consultant, and the project is in the process of passing to the River Don Trust (assisted by River Dee Trust) for works to take place this summer.
- Gottar Water Weir, Inverclyde - 1 barrier: RAFTS and SEPA are awaiting further clarification from the local authority with regards to a flood alleviation scheme that could fundamentally change the focus of this project. Given this uncertainty, and limited resources focused on higher priorities at present, this project is on hold.
- Creamery Weir, Dumfries & Galloway - 1 barrier: RAFTS has been successful with an application to SEPA WEF for the works/supervision phases of the project. An invitation to tender for the supervisory element was issued in early May, with a submission deadline of 20th May. A supervisory consultant should be contracted in early June, and at this stage contract preparation will commence to enable a further ITT to be issued for the works phase. A CAR License has been applied for, and the initial stages of a planning application are underway. The works will take place in August and September.
- Corrie Burn Weir, Spey – 1 barrier: This project has been put on hold for one year pending clarification of funding principles and regulatory conditions.
- Morsgail Barrier, Isle of Lewis – 1 barrier: RAFTS has been successful with an application to SEPA WEF for the works/supervision phases of the project. Contract preparation is underway to enable a further ITT to be issued for the supervisory/works elements. A CAR License has been applied for, and the initial stages of a planning application are underway. The works will take place in August.
- Phase 1 feasibility and optioneering of Diebidale Dam on the Carron system was completed in December 2015, and following discussions between KoSFT and SEPA, the project is moving towards a design phase. RAFTS will continue to provide technical support where required.
River Restoration – Training and Capacity Development
In recognition of the varying levels of river restoration management experience in the sector, and also the number of alternative methods available for river restoration management, RAFTS has published (by direct email to member trusts and on the RAFTS website) a series of guidance notes entitled 'Managing River Restoration: Gearing Up For The Management of River Restoration'.
These documents will help to equip organisations with the necessary tools for the governance and management of river restoration projects, particularly those that utilise public funds. These guidance notes are intended to promote good practice in this field and outline the procedural requirements that organisations should have in place before embarking on a river restoration project.
RAFTS will also be developing a programme of activities/seminars to support the publication of these guidance notes later in 2016.
The guidance is focused on the management of projects rather than the practical measures that may be implemented on the ground to improve the health of rivers in Scotland. The River Restoration Centre provides guidance on the techniques that can be used to restore rivers in the Manual of River Restoration Techniques such as restoring straightened rivers, reconnecting floodplains and barrier easement measures. In addition, it may be that Wild Fisheries Reform introduces requirements for Fisheries Management Organisations (FMOs) and therefore it is important to be proactive as far as possible to increase capacity for project management and implementation across the network.
The notes cover the following areas:
- Draft versions of five of six information and guidance notes have been produced and will be sent to trusts in March for review and comment before finalization at the end of March. The draft information and guidance notes are for:
- GN1 Project Set Up and Planning
- GN2 Procurement
- GN3 Project Management
- GN4 Stakeholder Engagement
- GN5 Consents and Licences
- GN6 Health and Safety
The information and guidance notes cover organisational and capacity requirements for the identification of projects, and their management from the development of the initial concept and gathering site survey information right through to the implementation of physical works and the subsequent monitoring and evaluation of these projects. The notes are not intended to provide a definitive management guide but will provide organisations and their staff with a range of options for consideration, highlighting the essential requirements for them managing these types of projects and providing links to sources of guidance that can be referred to for further detail where appropriate. The management of small and large scale projects in rural and urban environments is covered within the guidance. The notes are version controlled, and will be updated as necessary.
Pearls in Peril (PiP) LIFE Project
- The hydromorphological assessment for the restoration of two backwaters on the River Spey, at Aviemore and Delgyle has been completed and PIP are now reviewing the draft report. Our project partners from the River Spey will work with landowners to select the most feasible restoration options to be taken forward.
- The project to breach flood embankments and re-meander the Allt an Slugain burn, a tributary of the River Dee near Braemar, has been called in by the Cairngorm National Park Authority planning department, and will go to committee on 10th June. Works have been postponed until July.
- Further organisation of remedial works after Storm Frank: Contractor appointed for some stock/deer fence & water-gate repairs in Upper Deeside riparian planting areas; repairs to small tree enclosures by DDSFB bailiffs. Volunteers kindly offered help clearing flood debris from PiP enclosures.
- SRDP AECS (Agri-Environment & Climate Scheme) proposals submitted for Dee catchment farms, on Tarland Burn &Water of Feugh.
- Facilitation and support given to collaborative SRDP AECS schemes by other agricultural agents for diffuse pollution mitigation in Speyside (6 proposals), Deeside (5 new schemes adding to 12 from last year) and the South Esk catchment (6 proposals spanning 7 farm locations)
- Installation of 165 small tree enclosures along River Gairn on Upper Deeside has started
- South Esk PiP riparian tree planting site finished.
- Tour of PiP riparian tree planting & DP mitigation sites on Deeside with SNH Climate Change team
Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI)
- We are still awaiting the outcome of the match funding application that was submitted to SEPA and the processes are underway to secure match funding from SNH. This involves preparing a business case to accompany the match funding application request.
- Consultation with Trusts and other stakeholders is ongoing to support the development of the round two application documents and to structure the delivery phase activities.
- The PDO attended and presented at the Highland Wildlife Fair in Inverness in April. This event brought together groups from across the Highlands to highlight the work being done to protect, record and improve native biodiversity.
RAFTS Project Development
RAFTS is still waiting to hear the outcome of the following applications:
- Water and Environment Fund for control of invasive non-native plant species during 2016 involving 10 member Trusts
- WEF contribution to the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative for four years commencing in 2017 and involving 12 member trusts.
- A two year proposal for work on interactions between sea lice infections on wild and farmed salmonids covering 2016 and 2017 and involving 5 member trusts.
- A proposal for four years of educational work by three central trusts was submitted to the Greggs Foundation in January 2016
The application for the further development and implementation of the River Restoration Training and Capacity Development Work and the delivery of 5 barrier easement-removal projects was successful and will continue the in stream barrier and river restoration capacity building work up to March 2017.
Bailiff training – the latest examination was held on 29 March. 17 candidates sat the examination and 11 passes were achieved. All result notifications have now been issued. ASFB is presently scoping out the potential for a practical training session and briefing on the Western Isles in the summer. Further details will be published when these become available.
Bailiff notebook – ASFB and IFM have now produced a revised enforcement notebook for bailiffs. This is available from ASFB – if you require copies, please contact Brian Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Kelly, the RAFTS and ASFB Administrator, has moved on to take up a new position. We wish Linda well in her new job and thank her for her input to our work.
Carina Agnew joined RAFTS on a secondment basis to design guidance notes for project management for RAFTS and members. Carina completed this work in April and her secondment has now ceased. We would like to thank Carina for her time and expertise on this project.
RAFTS and ASFB Members Meeting and Conference – were held on the 16th-17th March at Battleby Conference Centre, Battleby, by Perth). The members meeting was attended by over 50 delegates and discussed aspects of the Wild Fisheries Reform programme. The Conference was attended by over 130 delegates and received very positive feedback. Pdf versions of the presentations can be viewed HERE
Annual Bailiffs Conference – With support from ASFB and IFM, the Nith DSFB hosted the annual Bailiff’s Conference on 29/30 March at the Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries. This was an excellent event, and blended together practical riverbank enforcement training and field trip with a range of talks and workshop to discuss the future for fisheries enforcement in Scotland. Scottish Government provided an update on the reform process. Police Scotland welcomed the delegates to the HQ in Dumfries where they described peripheral crime matters connected to fish poaching and other wildlife crime. Thanks go to Jim Henderson and Debbie Park and their team at the Nith for hosting a very successful event.
Pearls in Peril Conference - The PIP “End of LIFE” conference was held at Mar Lodge, near Braemar on 3rd and 4th May. There were around 70 delegates from throughout the UK, Finland, France, Ireland and Sweden. Further details and copies of presentations will be available at http://www.pearlsinperil.org.uk/ in the near future.
14/15 March 2017 – River Tweed Foundation/Atlantic Salmon Trust conference on salmon migration (details to be confirmed)
Events calendar – please look at the Fisheries events calendar HERE. This is hosted by the Scottish Fisheries Co-ordination Centre, and will serve as a ‘one stop shop’ for Scottish fisheries and aquatic science training and event dates.