Scottish Government take forward further protection for spring salmon

Leaping Salmon 2Scottish Government News Release – Conversation order laid in parliament.

Early-running spring salmon are being further protected through mandatory catch and release measures.

The measures, which come into force before the start of the 2015 season and will run for five years, have been introduced following the statutory 28 day consultation which concluded earlier this month. They have been designed to protect the currently low levels of spring salmon in Scotland.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“The Scottish Government places a high value on conservation of our wild Scottish salmon and other wild fish stocks. While I recognise the tremendous contribution that catch and release and the voluntary cessation of netting have had in previous seasons, I think more should be done to provide certainty about the protection of spring stocks.

“The Independent Review of Wild Fisheries has recently concluded and we are currently considering the recommendations from it and will consult further on firm policy propositions in due course. However the protection of the spring stocks cannot wait for that work to be completed and we have taken positive action to protect this iconic species.”

The Conservation of Salmon (Annual Close Time and Catch and Release) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 can be viewed here.

The ASFB response to the consultation can be viewed here.

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Moray Firth Trout Initiative wins National Conservation Award

IMG_4904The Moray Firth Trout Initiative (MFTI) recently won the Wild Trout Hero Award at the Annual Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards in London.

Over 100 guests attended a Wild Trout Trust evening at the Savile Club in Mayfair to present the annual awards for the best river habitat conservation projects. The evening was introduced by WTT Director, Shaun Leonard, with the awards presented by Richard Aylard of Thames Water, who generously sponsor the Conservation Awards.

The Conservation Awards recognise and encourage excellence in the management and conservation of wild trout habitat, celebrating the efforts, skills and ingenuity of projects carried out both by professionals and by grass roots voluntary organisations. Continue reading

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Tweed tagging reaches milestone

A thousand salmon have been tagged on the River Tweed in the past decade, as scientists try to find out how many fish are in the river and the number caught by anglers.

The Tweed Foundation has been carrying out the tagging work since 1994, with help to catch the fish coming from some of the in-river netting stations on the lower Tweed.

And at Paxton House’s netting station the 1,000th salmon, a 15-pounder, was tagged by Tweed Foundation biologist Kenny Galt.

The tagging of both salmon and sea-trout in the Tweed is aimed at finding out how many tagged fish are caught later by anglers upstream, which gives a good idea of the overall proportion of all fish caught.

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The Southern Reporter

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SSE withdraws their application to take more water from the Spey Catchment

River Spey - newsThe Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has recently confirmed that Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) has withdrawn an application to take yet more water from the Spey Catchment as part of their proposals to re-water the River Garry in the Tay Catchment.

SSE originally put forward proposals aimed at implementing the European Commission-inspired Water Framework Directive. This requires the majority of Europe’s rivers and burns to achieve “Good Ecological Status” by 2027. Continue reading

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ASFB and RAFTS welcome the publication of the final report and recommendations of the independent Wild Fisheries Review panel

Leaping Salmon 3The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) have welcomed the publication of an independent review of wild fisheries management in Scotland. The review was conducted by a panel consisting of Andrew Thin (Chair), Jane Hope and Michelle Francis.

Alasdair Laing, Chairman of ASFB and Andrew Wallace, Chairman of RAFTS, said in a joint statement: “We welcome the publication of the report and in particular the clear recognition that fisheries management should continue to be delivered on a local basis, rather than through a centralised system. Andrew Thin has conducted an open and participatory process and we have particularly appreciated the regular opportunities that all interested stakeholders have been afforded to engage with the process.”

Dr Alan Wells, ASFB Policy and Planning Director, added: “ASFB are particularly encouraged by the measures designed to ensure that any exploitation of Atlantic salmon is sustainable. We understand that it may be possible to deliver these measures under existing legislation and therefore we would urge the Scottish Government to progress these recommendations as soon as possible. We will consider the report in detail going forward, and we look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government in the coming months to help address the recommendations arising from the report.” Continue reading

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Salmon Farms can have Significant Impact on Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Stocks

Sea Lice 2The Chairman and Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) have today (18.09.14) welcomed a definitive review of over 300 scientific publications, which has just been published, on the effects sea lice can have on sea trout stocks. A team of top international scientists from Norway, Scotland and Ireland reviewed all available published studies on the effects of sea lice and have now concluded that sea lice have negatively impacted wild sea trout stocks in salmon farming areas in Ireland, Scotland and Norway.

Previously research was based on individually published studies but this new review reached its conclusions based on comprehensive studies of the effects of salmon lice from over 300 scientific publications. The project was funded by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund which provides investment in Norwegian seafood industry-based R&D with the objective of creating added value for the seafood industry.

The study also examined the potential effect of sea lice on salmon and concluded that sea lice have a potential significant and detrimental effect on marine survival of Atlantic salmon with potentially 12-44% fewer salmon spawning in salmon farming areas. Chairman Brendan O’Mahony commented, “These conclusions concur with previously published Inland Fisheries Ireland research on the potential impact of sea lice from marine salmon farms on salmon survival.”

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Inland Fisheries Ireland

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Chinese mitten crab found in River Clyde

An alien crab named as one of the planet’s worst invasive species has been found in the wild in Scotland for the first time.

A female Chinese mitten crab has been discovered in the River Clyde near Dalmarnock.

John Clark, a bailiff for the Mid Clyde Angling Association, found the hand-sized creature while patrolling the river in search of illegal eel traps and passed it on to the Clyde River Foundation (CRF) for examination.

“Another invasive, non-native species appears to have arrived in the Clyde,” said Dr Willie Yeomans, catchment manager for CRF.

“This chance discovery by an angler poses a potentially significant ecological threat to the Clyde system, the biota of which is recovering from centuries of poor water quality and structural modification.

“Without putting too much emphasis on this one specimen, this finding potentially has very serious implications for river management under the EU Water Framework Directive.

“Our first priority is to follow up the finding with survey work to determine if there is an established population of mitten crabs in the Clyde and we are appealing for information from anyone who may have encountered these animals on the river.”

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The Scotsman

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Millions of pearl mussels wiped out by sewage pollution, say scientists

FW Pearl MusselMillions of freshwater pearl mussels have been killed by sewage pollution of the River Spey in northeast Scotland over the last 15 years, according to scientific reports released under freedom of information law.

Experts from the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen have revealed that the number of mussels in the river has halved from 10 million in 1998-9 to five million in 2013. They blame high levels of phosphorus and other pollutants in sewage discharges for the decline, along with other factors.

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Rob Edwards.com

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Spotlight on hydro as barriers block salmon

Leaping Salmon 2MINI green energy schemes may pose a danger to struggling populations of wild salmon and trout by thwarting their journey upstream, according to pioneering new research.

Matthew Newton, a scientist at Glasgow University, used state-of-the-art radio tagging technology in a two-year study of salmon in Scotland as they migrate upriver to breed. He discovered that barriers such as weirs and dams can delay a fish’s progress for up to a month, and in some cases prove uncrossable. He found that 10 per cent of fish failed to pass each barrier.

The environmental and evolutionary biology PhD student will publish the results next year in his thesis.

He says salmon and trout populations in rivers with several of these hurdles, sometimes as many as eight, could be under serious threat.

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Scotland on Sunday

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Epic high Grampians walk produces windfall for River Dee Trust

RG - DeeAn epic walk over some of Scotland’s most remote and testing terrain has now raised over £5,000 in support of the River Dee Trust. In June Trust Chairman Richard Gledson, together with Braemar and Crathie Parish Minister Reverend Kenneth Mackenzie (in support of his own charity for under-privileged Romanian children), set out to traverse the perimeter of the parish’s 180,000 acres.

Braemar and Crathie is an extraordinary parish and the walk round the perimeter amounted to 110 strenuous miles and included climbing 14 Munros (the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest from sea level and back), all in a traditional Scottish summer mix of downpours and blazing sunshine. Continue reading

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