News

Charges for a Permit for River Work in England

Posted on April 04, 2018

WTT responded robustly to the Environment Agency’s consultation on proposed charges for permits issued under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. These are the permits we usually have to get to do habitat improvement work in the river. We felt it iniquitous that EA should be seeking to charge perhaps many hundreds of pounds for such work by NGOs, angling clubs and many others aimed at improving our environment (and supporting the EA’s statutory obligations to do so).

Now the EA has responded to that consultation and issued its charges: there’s good and bad news. The good news is that the Agency has listened to the howls from across the conservation and angling worlds and maybe made things better: there is now a reduced rate for a permit for “non-commercial activities undertaken for the purpose of environmental improvement”. Furthermore, during the 18/19 year, EA is to look again at the exemptions from permitting which might allow the likes of WTT to do our good work without a formal permit and associated cost. EA is keen to progress catchment permits, whereby an operator could apply to carry out the same work at multiple sites within a catchment, reducing the overall permit bill.

However, the charges still remain, in our opinion, steep. A permit for a single “non-commercial activity undertaken for the purpose of environmental improvement” (say a number of log deflectors in the river) will cost £170 and then every additional “activity” (say, marginal brash habitat features) will cost 25% of that £170, so another £42.50. Then there may be an additional subsistence charge of £68. So, a fairly simple project with four different habitat improvement methods (“activities” in EA language) could cost £365.50 in permit charges alone, excluding the cost of preparing the permit application and before any actual work starts.

Wild Trout Trust fishing weekend 14-15 July, Derbyshire Wye

Posted on April 04, 2018

The Haddon Estate, through its Peacock Fly Fishing Club, has kindly offered its fisheries on 14 & 15 July this year, as a fundraising weekend for WTT. This is an excellent opportunity to fish for wild browns, wild rainbows and grayling across four rivers including areas usually only open to the Peacock Fly Fishing Club members.

The Estate ceased stocking on the Wye, Lathkill and Bradford in 2004 and since then, has operated a thriving, catch & release wild fishery with strictly bankside, dry-fly only fishing. Nymph fishing and wading are permitted on the River Derwent section. If required, advice will be available from local guides to help you get the best out of your day. To find out more about the Peacock Fly Fishing Club, how the Estate’s fisheries are managed and what they offer, you are invited to join the river keepers for a BBQ at lunchtime (at no extra cost).

A limited number of rods are available at £50 per rod per day so do book soon.

Looking for fishing in 2018 ? Updated list

Posted on March 12, 2018

The best place to start, of course, is the Wild Trout Trust auction  but you may not want to wait until the next auction in March 2019!

If you are looking for  club or syndicate to join, check this list.

This list was updated 24/4/18 with new fishing on 'The Carrier' at Easton (Itchen carrier upstream of WInchester) and more fishing on the Itchen at Easton and one of the headwater streams, along with the rivers Test and Teise from the Sussex Piscatorial Society. 

Spot the difference

Posted on March 10, 2018

Spot the difference

Over on the WTT blog page, our Research & Conservation Officer, Jonny has laid down a challenge to all you angling photographers out there, or even fisheries scientists. He's trying to collate images of spotting pattern from around the UK, or even further afield, just to demonstrate the diversity in looks of our beloved brown trout, the nation's favourite fish!

We would like to use images like below as an engagement tool. No ID of the captor or specific location of the capture site - just river name for geographic reference.

If you have any suitable pics, or can remember to take some this season, that would be great - see the blog for more details.

Damning Report on Salmon Farming in Scotland

Posted on March 05, 2018

Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLR) has today (5 March) published its Committee report on the environmental impacts of salmon farming – it is extraordinarily damning of the industry and hugely welcomed by us in the wild fish sector. 

Graeme Dey MSP, Convener of the Committee, has now passed the report to the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee, with a covering letter that highlights a number of very significant issues, of little surprise to us. Mr Dey notes a lack of progress in tackling many of the key issues previously identified [in 2002] and that unacceptable levels of mortality persist.He goes on to describe that the industry growth targets (towards 300-400,000 tonnes by 2030, from around 170,000 tonnes now) “will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage to the environment”.The report calls for changes to current farming practice and an industry that demonstrates it can effectively manage and mitigate its impacts; the status quo is not an option. Scottish Government’s regulation of salmon farming is also criticised: “The Committee is not convinced the sector is being regulated sufficiently, or regulated sufficiently effectively”.

The Report itemises some worrying attitudes from the salmon farmers, quoting the view of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation that the “impact [on wild salmonids] is insignificant”, very much against the available evidence. One company, Marine Harvest, is reported as acknowledging “some level of risk for wild fish” but goes on to “reference the risk to farmed salmon from wild fish”.

Theo Pike – the Wild Trout Trust’s new Trout in the Town Officer in the South

Posted on March 01, 2018

Theo Pike – the Wild Trout Trust’s new Trout in the Town Officer in the South

The Wild Trout Trust is delighted to announce that the high profile conservationist Theo Pike has joined our team as the Trust’s new Trout in the Town Officer for the south of England and Wales.

Theo was one of the founders of the internationally-respected Wandle river restoration project, and he has served as the Wandle Trust’s Chair of Trustees since 2008, including its growth into the South East Rivers Trust.

In 2008 he was awarded the WTT’s Bernard Venables Prize (now known as the Wild Trout Hero award) and was recognised as a Sage Conservation Hero in 2009.

Wild Trout Trust New Trustee Appointments

Posted on February 27, 2018

Two new Trustees have been appointed to the Board of the Wild Trout Trust:  David Lloyd and George Seligman.

David Lloyd will focus on communications, making good use of his background as both a journalist with the BBC and latterly as Managing Director of Financial Dynamics, a leading international public relations consultancy. Since retiring David has been involved with a number of community and youth, sport-based organisations and with environmental campaigning. He is a lifelong, all-round angler. 

George Seligman is the Chairman of the Wessex Chalk Streams and Rivers Trust and has a strong interest in education and the environment, including as a Trustee of Countryside Learning, a charity which educates inner city children about the countryside. He retired as City lawyer in 2012, and now has a farm in the Test valley. He is a trout and salmon angler. 

Coming to a river near you ?

Posted on February 27, 2018

Floating Pennywort

Floating pennywort is a highly invasive and environmentally damaging plant that spreads from fragments, grows extraordinarily quickly and can blanket a river from bank to bank. It is wreaking havoc on several southern and eastern English rivers, but it spreading north and west. It may not be a problematical plant for streamy trout water, but it will grow very vigorously wherever flow slows. This short video, from Clearwater Photography, summarises the problem and what is being done on the middle and lower Kennet, including some good footage to help identify this pernicious weed:

 

Research on sea trout & river restoration

Posted on February 22, 2018

At WTT, we're keen to ensure that all the advice we give and practical techniquers we demonstrate are underpinned by sound science. It's Jonny Grey's role to keep us abreast of current academic thinking as our Research & Conservation Officer, and he has been passing it on to you in various formats, including the blog.

Here, he gives us an update on two projects that will hopefully bear some fruit this year, primarily because the grunt work has been taken on by two keen MSc students, Abbie & Charlotte, both from Queen Mary University of London.

Interestingly, they both also started out at University of Portsmouth in Marine Biology. To give you a bit of background:-

WTT Annual Get-Together May 2018

Posted on January 31, 2018

We are delighted that our annual Get-Together for 2018 will be visiting Gargrave, N Yorks on 19 & 20 May. A few of us will gather informally on the Friday night (18 May) in the locality (please feel free to join us if you can) before a Saturday full of varied and interesting stuff.In the morning, speakers will update us on projects by local groups, work by WTT in the patch, research on fish passes and some good old trout fishing talk.The programme is HERE. In the afternoon, we’ll walk the Aire to look at habitat improvement work, including fish passes.

Saturday daytime costs £10 to include tea, coffee & lunch, payable at the time of booking, with the form HERE. Please book by Friday 4 May 2018.

For those able to stay on, we’ll gather in Gargrave on the Saturday evening before a Sunday sampling wild trout fishing on some of Yorkshire’s fabulous and famous trout streams. If you would like to fish, please contact Christina in the WTT office by Friday 27 April 2018 to help us gauge numbers.

River Restoration Centre Conference and River Prize

Posted on January 29, 2018

The deadline for the UK River Prize is fast approaching – applications close on 19 February. The UK River Prize provides the opportunity to showcase your river restoration project and receive UK-wide recognition for your work. Selected finalists will attend the UK River Prize Awards Dinner with a chance of winning the prestigious Nigel Holmes Trophy.

The River Restoration Conference theme this year is ‘River Restoration: Engaging with Rivers’ .The conference will take place 24th - 25th April 2018 at De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.

 

New guest blog on how river plants help shape communities

Posted on January 24, 2018

The first early career researcher to bravely kick off our series of guest blogs was Jess Picken from Queen Mary University of London but based in Dorset with their River Communities team. She is studying how low flow events shape communities in salmonid rivers - see her first blog contribution, here.  

Almost a year later, and we return to the same location in Dorset but to a different Jess and a different take on chalkstream communities; this time shaped by plants. Jessica Marsh is funded by the G and K Boyes Trust and is based with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust fisheries team. She is a conservation biologist specialising in aquatic ecosystems, with a primary research focus on enhancing knowledge of threatened populations to better inform management. 

Check out some of Jess's preliminary findings over on the WTT blog.

EA Proposals to Increase Permit Charges by 700%?

Posted on January 18, 2018

The Environment Agency is currently consulting on plans to increase permit charges for habitat improvement work in rivers.

Twelve months ago, such a permit cost £50; from 4 January 2017, that went up to £170 (plus a compliance charge of £70); now, even a small-scale project using a few commonly-used habitat improvement methods could face a permit charge of £1500 or more.

We believe that these proposals jeopardise the work that tens of thousands of people are doing to make our natural environment better, very often in partnership with EA and in support of the Agency’s statutory obligations.The proposals do not differentiate between work for the environmental and those seeking to gain from the environment and we would encourage individuals, clubs and community groups to respond, ahead of a closing date of Friday 26 January 2018. The WTT response in full is HERE and a brief model response HERE.

Two new books about sea trout

Posted on January 15, 2018

Two new books about sea trout

Two very different books have just been published about sea trout, one about fishing, the other about science and management.

Sea Trout, Tips, Trials and Tribulations by Steffan Jones. Steffan has been guiding sea trout anglers on the Teifi in Wales since he was 15 and generally spends the winter fishing for sea trout in South America. He is a true expert on this enigmatic fish. The book covers all aspects of sea trout fishing, including chapters on targeting them in fresh and saltwater. There is a chapter by Moc Morgan on the evolution of sea trout flies. Sea trout fly patterns by aficionados from across the world are also detailed within the book.244 pages in 25 chapters. £30 + £3.50 UK postage.Order direct from Steffan - email book@sea-trout.co.uk

 

New Study on Impacts to Wild Fish from Salmon Farms

Posted on January 11, 2018

A new report, commissioned by Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland, tells a damning story about the impacts of salmon farms on wild salmon and sea trout. The first paragraph of the abstract reads

Results from scientific studies on the impacts of salmon lice on Atlantic salmon and sea trout are summarized [here]. Considerable evidence exists that that there is a link between farm-intensive areas and the spread of salmon lice to wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout. Several studies have shown that the effects of salmon lice from fish farms on wild salmon and sea trout populations can be severe; ultimately reducing the number of adult fish due to salmon lice induced mortality, resulting in reduced stocks and reduced opportunities for fisheries. Depending on the population size, elevated salmon lice levels can also result in too few spawners to reach conservation limits.

Damning indeed. The full report is available here