London public meeting presentations

For the benefit of those able and unable to attend the recent Spey Public meeting held in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Parliament Square, London the presentations can be downloaded via the links below. The meeting was a nice interlude for the Spey team involved with the positive feedback received making it all the more worthwhile.

The magnificent view from the balcony of the Royal Instutute of Chartered Surveyors

The magnificent view from the balcony of the Royal Instutute of Chartered Surveyors; they certainly have a prime office location.

Presentations:

Alan Williams Spey Fishery Board/Foundation Chairman click here

Brian Shaw Spey Foundation Biologist click here

Duncan Ferguson Spey Fishery Board Operations Manager click here

Roger Knight Spey Fishery Board/Foundation Director click here

 

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Malcolm Robinson at 8:10 pm

    Dear Brian,

    I was wondering if you could advise why there is not an automatic sluice gate on the River Mashie? The gate seems to be left open. I would have thought this would breach any extraction licence?

    Can you also advise if there was ever a ladder put in for migratory fish species? I had a good look at the installation yesterday and there is no obvious ladder or mechanism, but maybe there was one in the past and it was destroyed over the years by water damage?

    Has anyone looked into these two points with Sepa and Alcan? Also, would you hapen to have the extraction agreements for review?

    Best regards
    Malcolm

  2. Henry Taylor at 3:00 pm

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you (and the other presenters) for your informative presentations on Tuesday. It was great to meet you all and to hear your views in person. Clearly we all have the same objective in mind and it is great to have the ability to air views on this blog and in the meetings. It is nice to see that the current Board is so much more open about what is happening now than it was in the past.

    A few unanswered questions remain in my mind:

    1. The Spey seems to me to be much more similar to the Tweed in character than the Findhorn / Alness etc. Why do we compare fry / parr densities to local rivers rather than those in the other ‘big four’ catchments?

    2. There was a lot of discussion around water extraction, which will clearly have a big impact on the rivers potential for smolt production. It would be lovely to believe that something will be done about this (an online petition was mentioned which seems very sensible) but what can we do if this doesn’t materialise? The main stream above Spey Dam looks to have great potential that is currently under utilised – what is being done to ensure this is the case?

    3. Predation on the river is a concern shared by many – Mergansers, Cormorants, Herons, Seals, Dolphins. Has any analysis been done on its impact?

    4. Catch & release is now the norm. Why don’t we name and shame the worst performing beats? Also, why not ban spinning / worm fishing at certain times of the year (as on Tweed)?

    5. Mortality at Sea – What is the Spey Board doing to investigate salmon mortality outside of the river?

    Thanks and have a good weekend.

    • Brian Shaw Author at 4:29 pm

      Hi Henry,

      Thanks fo your kind words, it was very good to meet you and to put a face to you rather than just approving and replying to your blog comments!

      Your questions:
      1) Comparing the Spey to the Tweed could cause a major diplomatic incident! Leaving aside the fact that the Spey actually has a discernable flow; the geology, water chemistry, gradient, temperatures, productivity etc are much more akin to the Findhorn than the Tweed. The Spey is most comparable in these respects to the Dee although every river is different. The typical conductivity on the Tweed would be 200+ whereas on the Spey it is often below 25, even single figures whilst even the lower mainstem is only about 50 or so. To use the Moray Firth classification as a benchmark is I think entirely reasonable.
      2) Abstraction is a huge issue. In the case of the Tromie/Truim protection of existing flows are the priority, these tributaries are actually quite productive. Upstream of Spey Dam the impact is clear to see but of course the whole upper catchment is impacted, including the Mashie as highlighted by Duncan. Stocking has been carried out above Spey Dam in the past but we need to assess the state of the natural stock to highlight the impacts. Stocking there may be the right option in the future if other improvements can be secured.
      3) We carry out regular fish eating bird counts and have a licence for scaring with a limited level of control. There is a Moray Firth sawbill group including other Fishery Boards and Trusts but I have had limited involvement. I’ll ask Roger for an update.
      4) C&R has improved across all beats in recent years and was 85% overall last season. The Board has revised the conservation policy wording and further improvements in the release rate are anticipated.
      5) The Board itself isn’t too involved directly in investigating marine mortality, with the exception of the coastal patrol work by the bailiffs, but of course we are involved with national organisations who’s remit is more focussed on issues outwith the Spey catchment.

      Hope that partly answers your questions at least.

      P.S. Apologies to anyone associated with the Tweed, it’s just pure jealousy on my part, we’d love your catches!

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