Archive for February, 2015

Electrofishing report on the Avon, Erme & Yealm

This report by Scott West, the SHRImP project manager from The Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) describes a semi-quantitative fry index electrofishing survey throughout the Rivers Avon, Yealm & Erme in July and August 2014. This was the second year of fish monitoring of this type and goes someway to establishing a longer term data set for the South Hams Rivers.
The surveys were targeted to complement the Environment Agency (EA) electric fishing monitoring undertaken in 2014, although both data sets use different methodologies with the primary difference being the use of fully quantitative depletion methods used by the EA and a semi-quantitative fry index method used by WRT (to be detailed in Field sampling and data analysis methods section). A total of two sites on the Avon, two sites on the Erme and 16 sites on the Yealm were surveyed by the Environment Agency in the 2014 season (see appendix D).

The full text of the report may be found in the RESEARCH REPORTS section of the RESEARCH page.


Recently, there was another incident involving  Richard Crafer aka ‘Swan Man’ and his threats to river and Tidal Road users on the Avon estuary.  This incident apparently involved Mr Crafer kicking a lady’s dog and threatening her with a rock.  There have been numerous similar incidents in the past but the level of threatened violence seems to be escalating.  Despite warnings from the police, ’Swan Man’s’ behaviour continues unchanged.

Bigbury Parish Council,  the Aune Conservation Association, and the new owners of the Bantham Estate share a common view about this nuisance.   The Duchy of Cornwall has asked us to make it very clear that ‘Swan Man’ is not acting as their agent, in any capacity, despite what he may claim.

Our first concern is the preservation of free access to the estuary and the Tidal Road for the public.  The estuary, of course, is an asset of huge recreational importance.  We should all be concerned whenever that recreational experience is spoiled.  The local police have become involved because of the very widely reported nuisance behaviour of ‘Swan Man’ – who is spoiling the estuary experience for many users of the water and Tidal Road with his off-putting, personal behaviour whenever he feels that his ‘charges’ may be at risk.

REPORTING PROTOCOL:  The police have asked that anybody who feels threatened in any way (and it may be very early in the morning or very late at night, depending on the tides) should immediately report details of the incident on their 101 non-emergency number to log the incident into their records.  Please also call local police officers:-
Jo-Pengelly 07921061657 or Dave Gibson 07525617842. Then and most importantly they should call the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer:- John Ward tel. 01803 861252  or because he is anxious to build a case to try and rid the estuary of this nuisance.