Policy and external engagement
ASFB and RAFTS have maintained regular contact with Marine Scotland and other agencies regarding a number of issues. These mainly focussed on meetings relating to the wild fisheries reform programme (WFR - see more details below).
Wild Fisheries Reform and Stakeholder Reference Group
General - 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).
Potential FMO Areas - RAFTS and ASFB, through Alasdair Laing and Andrew Wallace, have been in extensive consultation with the membership of both organisations on the matter of what the future FMO area ‘map’ might look like. They have written to all Boards and Trusts and are currently undergoing a series of meetings / consultations with various parties to establish what levels of agreement (or otherwise) there might be about the likely potential size and shape of the future FMO network.
Following this consultation, they will be producing a report for Scottish Government in August 2016 outlining a series of possibilities and indicating the level of support that might be found locally for such ideas. This report will have been approved by all the interested parties in both memberships. So far good progress has been made in many (but not all) areas with some extremely progressive and imaginative thinking coming out of local areas. The approach that RAFTS and ASFB are taking is that we believe it would be far more satisfactory for these areas to be discussed and designed locally rather than by Government.
It also needs to be stressed that these solutions are prefaced entirely on the idea that Scottish Government intends to fill the funding gap between the existing levy income in each area and the required income to ensure that WFR objectives can be met. Discussions with Government are underway about how these funding gaps, where they exist, might be filled.
Response to consultation on draft bill and strategy – an analysis of all responses is being prepared during the summer Parliamentary recess – a link to this analysis will be provided once it is available.
Technical Working Groups - The Stakeholder Reference Group has now set up 7 technical working groups to draw in the experience from across the network in a variety of different subject areas. These will examine:
- Transitional matters
- Fishery Promotion and Development
- Continuous Professional Development
- Fishery Management Planning
- Science and Data
A number of individuals from the DSFB/Trust network will be serving on these, including several members of the ASFB Management Committee and RAFTS Board. Further progress will be reported after the first meetings, which will start in August.
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 25 May and the most recent approved minutes can be viewed HERE. Wider information on the JWG may be viewed HERE (ASFB) and HERE (RAFTS).
Other groups and engagement
Bailiff Development Group – the Group last met on 13 April, and is due to next meet on 26 July. It will be looking at a number of matters, including the new Enforcement Working Group which will inform the Wild Fisheries Reform proposals in relation to fisheries enforcement, training initiatives (including a training module in August – see ‘Training’ below, for more details), salmon conservation regulations and carcass tagging and a number of other matters. The published minutes for the Group can be found HERE.
ASFB also attended meetings of the National Species Reintroduction Forum and Board of the Country Sports Tourism Group.
- Avon Barriers – South Lanarkshire: The Design phase for both weirs completed successfully in March 2016. The design is for rock-type fish passes at both weirs. These designs were presented to the general public, and received strong support. The design consultant has also been contracted to carry out supervision of works. A CAR Licence has been received by RAFTS enabling works to progress, and the project is exempt from planning permission. The works contract was awarded in June 2016 and works have commenced at both sites, including the installation of access routes and coffer dams. The works phase will complete in October 2016. Project partners are SEPA, South Lanarkshire Council (through Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership supported by Heritage Lottery Fund) and Clyde River Foundation.
- Creamery Weir – Dumfries & Galloway: The design phase completed successfully in March 2016. The design is for full removal of the weir and associated sluice, with some river bed reinforcement to ensure channel stability post-works. A supervisory consultant has been contracted, and an invitation to tender for the physical works phase was issued in early July. A CAR Licence has been received by RAFTS enabling works to take place. The works phase is due to commence in August 2016 and run to the end of September 2016. RAFTS applied for planning permission in May 2016, and we await a decision. The works contract will not be awarded until planning consent has been received. Project Partners are SEPA and Galloway Fisheries Trust.
- Morsgail Barrier – Isle of Lewis: The design phase was completed successfully in March 2016. The design is for full removal of the structure, and river bed reinforcement to ensure channel stability post-works. The design consultant has also been contracted to carry out supervision of works, and an invitation to tender for the physical works phase will be issued on 06/07/16. A CAR Licence has been applied for and its receipt is expected shortly. The works phase is due to commence in late August 2016, and run to late September 2016. RAFTS applied for planning permission in May 2016, and awaits a decision. The works contract will not be awarded until the CAR Licence and planning consent are received. Project Partners are SEPA and Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust.
- Almond Barriers: Although the ‘West Lothian Barriers’ (4 Barriers) design phase was successfully completed in February 2016, the ‘Cramond Barriers’ (2 Barriers) design phase has had its complications and been delayed in its completion. RAFTS has been informed that all revised deliverables will be in place by the end of July 2016. It is anticipated that the works phases will be delivered by the relevant local authority, commencing 2017. Project partners are SEPA and River Forth Fisheries Trust (through the “Riverlife: Almond and Avon” Project supported by Heritage Lottery Fund)
- Gottar Water Weir: Feasibility and optioneering was completed in 2015. However, the estimated costs did not meet cost-benefit calculations, and so it was agreed that further scoping work is required. This work is currently delayed while RAFTS and SEPA obtains information relating to a flood defence scheme proposed for installation upstream of the weir by the local authority. This scheme has significant implications for the barrier project, and so at present the project is on hold. Project Partners are SEPA and Clyde River Foundation.
- Diebidale Dam – Kyle of Sutherland: This project is being managed and led by Kyle of Sutherland Fisheries Trust, with support from RAFTS. An initial feasibility and optioneering study was completed in late 2015. However, the recommended method for easement (bypass channel) has been scrutinised and it has been agreed that a second opinion will be required to ensure that cost-benefit requirements are adhered to. A review of the study will be initiated via a tender shortly. Project partners are SEPA and RAFTS.
- Corrie Burn Weir, Spey and Gottar Water Weir, Inverclyde: There have been no further developments with these barriers. As such RAFTS will only report if there is a change in status with regard to these barriers.
River Restoration – Training and Capacity Development
As reported in the last newsletter RAFTS completed a series of information and guidance notes in March 2016 and these have now been disseminated to a wide range of organisations. There has been considerable interest in these documents and the River Restoration Centre and Scottish Government (Fisheries) have both expressed an interest in endorsing these documents. RAFTS has ben in discussion with the WEF technical team, River Restoration Centre and Scottish Government Fisheries for a collaborative/joint series of events to disseminate information on the undertaking of river restoration work. RAFTS will work with these agencies to develop a programme for joint delivery in the period November 2016-March 2017.
Pearls in Peril (PiP) LIFE Project
- On the River Spey, meetings with landowners, residents and other stakeholders took place to discuss the re-connection of two historic channels to the main river (at Aviemore and Delegyle). The outcome of these meetings was positive, and PIP will now take the project forward to the works stage. Ecological surveys (freshwater pearl mussel, lamprey and otter) are near completion.
- The project to breach flood embankments and re-meander the Allt an Slugain burn, a tributary of the River Dee near Braemar, has been approved by the Cairngorm National Park Authority planning department. Works are due to commence on 8th August.
- Repairs to flood damage on the banks of the River Dee at Commonty will take place in July. A contractor has been appointed and preparations are underway.
- A local contractor has been appointed to undertake minor flood repair works at Acharn, Glen Doll (South Esk SAC). These repairs will take place in August. The work includes removing a further 60m of boulder bank protection that was buried in the bank behind a section we removed last year. It was exposed after erosion of the re-profiled bank during Storm Frank. Fencing repairs are near completion, and PIP have planted 400 trees at Acharn to stabilise banks and create wet-woodland habitat.
- The PIP South Esk SAC in stream restoration work (removal of a total of 875m of boulder bank protection, and re-connection of 3 historic channels) has been entered into the Saltire Society Civil Engineering Award. Judging took place in early July.
- Plans are underway to improve fish migration over a bridge apron on the Langdale Burn (Strath Naver). We hope to install the concrete baffle by the end of October. Highland Council have agreed to maintain the structure after the end of the PIP project.
- The Agricultural Offers are working on:
- Overseeing of final stages of main contract & additional spend contract for small enclosures - River Gairn, Deeside
- Submission of supporting documents for SRDP AECS applications (deadline 16 May 2016)
- Overseeing completion of DP riparian improvement infrastructure schemes - Burnfoot (Feugh), Wester Coull (Tarland), Netherton (Tarland)
- Invitation, issuing & awarding of fencing contract – Craskins (Tarland)
- Woodland Restoration & Expansion networking/awareness raising, with the Woodland Trust & CNPA
- Various site meetings with famers re potential DP PiP-funded fencing projects
- On-going support to land managers
- They also attended a sharing experiences PiP/SEPA workshop, in Perth
- 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 are available at http://www.pearlsinperil.org.uk/.
Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI)
- The development of this project is continuing and a number of required documents have been completed with others still in preparation. The current status of the required documents is as follows:
- Mink Strategy (Completed)
- INNPS Strategy (Completed)
- Review of previous mink work (Completed)
- Review of previous plant work (Completed)
- Volunteer Plan (Draft being finalised)
- Communication Plan (Draft being finalised)
- Audience engagement report (Draft being finalised)
- Digital Review (Draft being finalised)
- Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (Draft being finalised)
- Activity Plan and Budget – currently being developed
- Management and Maintenance Plan – currently being developed
- Job Descriptions (To be finalised once project structure and staffing arrangements agreed)
- Partnership and Trust Agreements (To be finalised once project structure agreed).
- The development of the project has been impacted and slowed by reductions in the amounts of match funding and uncertainties about institutional arrangements as a consequence of the Wild Fisheries Reform process. However we will submit the Stage 2 application to HLF as soon as these matters can be clarified.
RAFTS was successful in obtaining funding for the following applications:
- Water and Environment Fund for control of invasive non-native plant species during 2016 involving 10 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
A further proposal for the WEF contribution to the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative for four years commencing in 2017 and involving 12 member trusts will be required.
Bailiff training – it is proposed that a 2 day training module on operation of legal nets and illegal netting activity will be convened in August. Information has been circulated to all bailiffs to note interest and final details will be circulated very soon. The event will take place at the River Tweed Commission Office, Melrose and will involve some netting operations at Paxton on the Lower Tweed.
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
Guidance on fisheries offences – new guidance has been prepared by ASFB on current offences in relation to salmon and freshwater fisheries. This is intended to accompany the new notebook. A copy may be downloaded HERE.
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.