Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

SPRING NOTES

SPRING NOTES – AUNE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

Life in the Devon Avon continues much as normal although recreational activity in the estuary has been severely curtailed during ‘Lockdown’.   Unfortunately, our social gathering in the form of the Tidal Road clean-up planned for the end of April was another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic and advice on social distancing, etc.  Our Spring AGM will probably suffer the same fate.

 

As for normality, this is the time of year when as salmon begin to mature, they adapt for life in salt water in an intermediary stage known as smolts.  This process marks the beginning of their first migration from their home river to the ocean.   Anadromous fish, like salmon, that move from fresh to salt water and back again over the course of their lives, must be able to change their physiology – the way their bodies work.  In a process called smoltification, salmon adapt to the changes salt water causes to their bodies.  In fresh water, the salmon’s body is saltier than the water in which it swims. To work properly, the body needs salt so it tries to keep the salt in.  Some escapes, but the salmon gets enough from the food it eats to make up for the loss.  In the ocean, the water is saltier than the salmon’s body needs to be, so it must try to keep the salt out and the water in.  When salmon swim in the ocean, the salt water draws water out of the fish’s cells.  Salmon adapt by drinking seawater to replace the water their cells lose.  They excrete the excess salt through their gills and urine. As the smolts prepare for ocean life, their appearance also changes, from the dark colours of the fry to the silvery colour of adult salmon. This helps them hide in the light conditions of the surface waters of the open ocean, where there is no dark shade from overhanging trees.  While approximately 30 fry from a redd of 2000 to 2500 eggs grow into smolts, less than four survive to become adults.

 

We are now approximately midway through the smolt migration season, locally, but a big problem in the Devon Avon (Aune) is the potential shortage of water to enable these migrations to occur.  The Aune is a spate river meaning that it is rain-fed, short and fast flowing so the run-off time is quicker; water levels rise and fall relatively quickly, especially upstream.  The water level recorded at the gauging station near Didworthy usually ranges between 0-1.40m; early on 3rd May it was 0.37m.  In contrast, downstream at Loddiswell (usual range from 0.25m -1.80m); the level was 0.26m and falling.  The Avon dam exacerbates the problem of seasonal water shortages although, as part of the original agreement when the dam was built in the 1950s, an ecological ‘bank’ or ‘freshet’ of water should be released in times of drought.    Some years ago, we managed to negotiate with the Environment Agency (EA) and Southwest Water (SWW) to make sure these water releases actually happened – for the first time since the dam was built.   Unfortunately, owing to retirements and headcount reductions in both organisations, the agreement details seemed to become ‘forgotten’ despite my best attempts to familiarise replacement staff with the arrangements.  Happily, following yet more staff reassignments and the appointment of a new, better informed, EA fisheries officer to cover our region, I have just been notified that  because April was a very dry month – although it is raining as I write – the overspill from the dam has been very small of late.    Therefore, a ‘freshet’ of water will be arranged with SWW.  Hopefully, more smolts will make their way to the sea as a result and will eventually come back to our river as adult fish.

 

Stuart Watts – May 2020

Avon runs low

The Environment Agency has two gauging stations for monitoring water levels on the Avon, at Didworthy and Loddiswell.  Data from both indicate a severe reduction in water flow during the current very dry spell of weather, especially in the lower reaches.

On Saturday 21st July, the depth at Didworthy was 0.35m (normal range = 0- 1.4m) and at Loddiswell was 0.19m (normal range = 0.25-1.8m).

 

 

Netting Permit Byelaw – publicity events

Devon and Severn IFCA are holding a number of events to publicise the proposed Netting Permit Byelaw.   Please join Officers at the promotion trailer that will be at the following venues between 1600hrs and 2000hrs.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and find out more information.  Large charts showing estuaries and coastal areas will be on display as well as the byelaw and permit conditions.  Copies will be available for you to take away.  Please advertise this as widely as possible within the fishing community.

Churchfields car park, Appledore, EX39 1RL                                         15th August 2016
Cove car park, The Cove, Ilfracombe, EX34 9EN                                   16th August 2016
Fish Quay, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, PL4 0LH                                  17th August 2016
Imperial Road Recreational Ground, Exmouth, EX8 1DB                    18th August 2016
The Den, Den Crescent, Teignmouth, TQ14 8AA                                  19th August 2016
Quay West car park, Quay West, Minehead, TA24 5UP                      22nd August 2016
Entrance to Sailing Club, The Promenade, Clevedon, BS21 7QU       23rd August 2016
Manor Road car park, Sidmouth, EX10 8RR                                         24th August 2016
Car park, Creek boat park, Gould Road, Salcombe, TQ8 8DU             25th August 2016
Freshwater Quarry car park, Blackball Lane, Brixham, TQ5 8BA        26th August 2016

The byelaw, permit conditions and charts can be viewed in advance on our website: www.devonandsevernifca.gov.uk/public-consultation-

Regards,

Mat Mander
Deputy Chief Officer (Enforcement)

IMPORTANT LOCAL CONSULTATIONS

Some important relevant consultations that are live at the moment  :

1.    The South Devon AONB Planning Guidance Consultation is now open until Tuesday 16th August 2016. For full details, please visit www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/our-work/responding-to-planning/south-devon-aonb-planning-guidance-consultation

We are also presently preparing a guide to preparing a ‘Construction Environmental Management Plan’ – essentially an audit of all the potential environmental impacts of a development, from inception to post build use, and how each impact will be mitigated to safeguard the setting and ‘downstream’ habitats of the development.

2.   The Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority has formally advertised the proposed Netting Permit Byelaw 2016 yesterday and the period of public consultation on the Byelaw has started.

The proposed Byelaw will provide the Authority with the ability to balance the needs of persons netting with the requirements to secure a sustainable marine eco-system and local socio-economic environment for the benefit of all sea users.  Any person that uses a net, other than of a type specified in the byelaw, to fish in the Authority’s District is required to do so in accordance with a permit issued by the Authority.  Under this byelaw the Authority will have the ability, among other things, to restrict the number of nets that can be used, where the nets can be used and introduce a daily catch limit.  The permit conditions contain all the Authority’s management restrictions that apply to netting activity in the District.  The permit conditions will be reviewed when necessary on the basis of best available evidence and within a time period not exceeding three years.

A full text of the above Byelaw, the permit conditions and the associated Impact Assessment can be inspected at, or obtained from Devon & Severn IFCA, Brixham Laboratory, Freshwater Quarry, Brixham, Devon, TQ5 8BA. Tel: 01803 854648; Email: office@devonandsevernifca.gov.uk or viewed on www.devonandsevernifca.gov.uk

Any person wishing to comment, support or object to the confirmation of the above Byelaw must do so in writing to:

Marine Conservation and Enforcement Team, Marine Management Organisation, Lancaster House, Hampshire Court, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 7YH (or IFCAbyelaws@marinemanagement.org.uk) by 22nd September 2016 and must send a copy to the Chief Officer at Devon & Severn IFCA, Brixham Laboratory, Freshwater Quarry, Brixham, Devon, TQ5 8BA (or office@devonandsevernifca.gov.uk  ).

The Authority intends to hold a series of events between 15th and 26th August 2016 around the district to publicise the Byelaw consultation and to provide you with an opportunity to discuss the proposals with the Authority’s officers.  Some venues are yet to be confirmed so please visit our website or contact the office after 29th July 2016 to find out when and where the events will be held.

Devon Avon (Water Quality) Group

The notes from the most recent meeting of the Devon Avon (Water Quality) Group or DAG have been added to the appropriate page in the ECOLOGY section.  Amongst other things, it will be seen that SWW’s programme of water releases from the Avon dam, for fisheries purposes, will be continuing during 2016 along with some electro-fishing and gravel augmentation work (also funded by SWW) as an experiment to promote fish spawning in the upper reaches of the river.