Spey Fishery Board Publications

Envirocentre 2021 Report Press Release

The Spey Fishery Board (SFB) has just issued a Press Release calling for a reduction in the volumes of water artificially diverted from the river’s catchment to generate hydro-electricity and the re-watering of some of the Spey’s tributaries. This follows the publication of an independent report, produced for the SFB by EnviroCentre Ltd, on the extent of water abstractions and transfers from the Spey and their impact on the groundwater stored within the riverbed. You can see the Press Release here.

Envirocentre Spey Abstractions Report 2021

The River Spey is a designated Special Area of Conservation for a range of species, including Scotland’s iconic wild Atlantic salmon – a species under threat, which is considered by many to be in crisis. The Spey Fishery Board (SFB) is calling for a reduction in the volumes of water artificially diverted from the river’s catchment to generate hydro-electricity and the re-watering of some of the Spey’s tributaries. This follows the publication of an independent report, produced for the SFB by EnviroCentre Ltd, on the extent of water abstractions and transfers from the Spey and their impact on the groundwater stored within the riverbed. This report confirms that the Spey is one of the most heavily-abstracted major rivers in Scotland and a copy of the full Report can be found here.

The Report shows that of all the water permitted to be abstracted or diverted out of the catchment, over 90% of it is taken from the top 13% of the Spey catchment, then diverted either to Fort William, or to the Tay to generate hydro-electricity. In place since the 1940’s, these schemes can reduce the natural flow in the Spey by up to 24% at Boat o’ Brig, near Fochabers, and by up to a massive 61% at Kingussie.

Crucially, the Report highlights that the Spey valley has extensive sand and gravel deposits that now store far less water than would naturally be expected, due to the lower river levels as a result of these diversions. This loss of water storage capacity is exacerbated by historic land use practices and reduced snow melt in the spring. The net result of this reduction in natural flow is that it has reduced the resilience of the river to cope with the low flow conditions and higher water temperatures we are experiencing more and more as a result of climate change. Many people on Speyside will recall the dramatic drop in water levels in Loch Vaa near Aviemore, which is fed by groundwater, during the exceptionally dry summer of 2018. This is an excellent demonstration of the reduced resilience the River Spey now has to the dramatic fluctuations in climate.

The SFB is working to redress this by promoting a programme of ecosystem restoration. For example, if the flow was reinstated to the Allt Sluie near the top of the Spey catchment at Dalwhinnie, this would off-set the amount of water abstracted at the Dipple wellfield on the lower Spey near Fochabers. Crucially, though, it would provide benefits downstream throughout the entire river. Other opportunities include: the restoration of the River Mashie near Laggan, most of the flow from which is diverted to Fort William; and the re-instatement of flows down the Allt Bhran and down the River Cuaich, both of which are currently diverted into the Tay system.

The SFB is now approaching the Scottish Government and Scottish Environment Protection Agency to support and encourage these river restoration opportunities. These would provide nature-based solutions to increase groundwater storage, which in turn will help top-up the river during periods of drought. In so doing, it will help make the Spey more resilient to the huge challenges we all face now and in the future with regard to the climate emergency.

Administrator Job Vacancy

This is the link to the job advert.

Accounts 2020

This is the link to the Accounts.

Annual Report 2020

This is the link to the Annual Report.

Board AGM Minute 7 February 2020

This is the link to the AGM Minute.

Board Draft OPEN Minutes 20 November 2020

This is the link to the Open Minutes.

Allt Lorgy Restoration Project

This is the link to the video.

River Calder Restoration 2020

This is the link to the video.

The Invertebrate fauna of the River Spey – Craig Macadam

This is the link to the report.

Spey Fishery Board Coronavirus (COVID-19) Policy

This is the link to the policy.

Spey Fishery Board Accounts

This is the link to the 2019 Accounts.

Spey Fishery Board Briefings

The below briefings have been produced by the Spey Fishery Board on the following topics:

Briefing on “Juvenile fish stocks in the River” can be viewed here.

Briefing on “Why and how the Spey Fishery Board do electro-fishing” can be viewed here.

Briefing on “Stocking and the use of hatcheries” can be viewed here.

A letter from SEPA, which acknowledges their appreciation for the Spey Fishery Boards’ electro-fishing can be found here.

Spey Fishery Board Broodstock Licence Application 2018

The papers which were submitted for the Spey Fishery Board Broodstock Licence 2018 can be found below:

The 2018 Broodstock Capture Licence Application and initial responses from SNH and Marine Scotland Science can be viewed here.

The formal SNH response in early October by way of advice to Marine Scotland Science, in the form of an extensive Habitats Regulations Appraisal and Appropriate Assessment can be viewed here.

The rejection of our 2018 Broodstock Capture Licence Application and Revised Application for a reduced quantity of broodstock can be viewed here.

Spey Fishery Board Meeting Papers 16th July 2018

The Spey Fishery Board held an Extraordinary Meeting on Monday 16th July to discuss a proposal from Tulchan Estate to re-open their hatchery to rear salmon smolts. This had been accompanied by a supporting petition which had been signed by the majority of the Ghillies. The Board’s decision that it could not proceed with the proposal, together with the launch of a new Action Plan outlining the initiatives it would be taking forwards, were subsequently presented to a meeting of Proprietors and Ghillies on Thursday 19th July 2018.

The papers which had been sent to the Board, together with the new Action Plan and the presentations made on 19th July can be found below:

Director’s Presentation

Biologist’s Presentation

SFB Action Plan July 2018

Iceland Trip Report 250618

Tay DSFB – FAQ on Smolt Stocking – David Summers

MSS Report on Smolt Stocking 2015

Jens Christian Holst Paper – Mackerel Predation

 

River Spey Catches by River Reach 2012 – 2016 Report here.

 

ANNUAL REPORTS

Each year the Board publishes a comprehensive Annual Report which outlines all the activities undertaken by the Board and the Research Trust. The most recent Annual Reports can be downloaded below:

SPEY BOARD MEETING MINUTES

SPEY BRIEFINGS

The Spey Fishery Board and Spey Foundation also publish Briefings to outline their work on current projects and topics of general interest. These can be downloaded below:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

 2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003