News

Wednesday, 3rd October 2012

 

A number of animal species predate wild trout - mammals (e.g. otter, mink), birds (e.g. cormorants, sawbill ducks) and other fish (e.g. pike, larger trout). Predation is just one of a complex of factors impacting on wild trout populations; for many populations the effects of unsympathetic land use, poor in-river habitat, low water quality and water quantity and poor river management regimes will be of greater significance.

WTT recognises that predation can be problematical for fish populations and for fishery interests. Since the 1970’s, there has been an increase in the inland over-wintering population of cormorants and an increase in the geographical range of goosanders, though there is evidence in 2012 that cormorant numbers have stabilised or even slightly decreased.

Unequivocal, scientifically-derived information establishing direct relationships between wild trout and predator populations in aggregate is lacking and difficult to obtain, especially for rivers. However there is anecdote from various parts of the British Isles indicating effects of intense, localised predation pressure from piscivorous birds.

We believe that the primary focus for fishery interests in tackling predation problems should be the creation and maintenance of complex and varied habitat that gives fish a much greater chance of avoiding predators. A WTT presentation to an Environment Agency Wales Conference in May 2012 outlined some of this work and described a range of methods to create varied and complex habitat. A copy of the presentation can be downloaded as a 4MB PDF file  (click here  to download)  and an information paper on predators and wild trout is in preparation by WTT.

Fishery interests can additionally deter predators through a range of scaring and/or exclusion techniques (see appendix A below), though these may be more applicable to small stillwaters rather than rivers or large lakes and their efficacy relies on persistence and variety of scaring method.

Direct control (culling) of species whose impact is deemed to be impossible to otherwise mitigate is used by all kinds of institutions with many and various ends. For example, deer are culled by forestry, farming and conservation organisations for different reasons when their numbers reach levels that impact on other objectives. This happens despite the existence of tree guards, deer fences and other deterrents and avoidance tactics. It is, therefore, not a surprise when calls come for permission to control species predating on fish populations which, like crops and wood anemones, also have economic and conservation value. When, unlike deer, the predators are themselves locally abundant but nationally or internationally scarce and therefore protected, the moral arguments for culling are further complicated.

It is for exactly these circumstances that we have regulation, and it is for the regulator (government and its agencies) to take all the evidence of local and national predator impacts into account alongside all the alternative means of protecting prey populations when making locally sensible decisions about direct control. Decisions on culling species that have national protection because of their wider conservation status should be a local debate informed by evidence; our only suggestion is that this should be with a regulator who has been given the discretion to take a locally informed view whilst maintaining a national and international conservation perspective.

Appendix A

The booklet Protecting Your Fishery from Cormorants describes a number of methods aimed at deterrence or reducing the success of cormorant feeding (see www.environment-agency.gov.uk). In the case of some persistent piscivorous birds, shooting to kill remains an option, when licensed through appropriate government agencies, such as Natural England (www.naturalengland.org.uk), Welsh Assembly Government (www.ccw.gov.uk), Scottish Natural Heritage (www.snh.gov.uk), the Dept of the Environment for Northern Ireland (www.doeni.gov.uk) and in Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (www.npws.ie).

Friday, 21st September 2012

 

The latest edition of the Wild Trout Trust’s habitat and fishery management guide is now available from our shop,  price £10.00. Click here to buy your copy.

 

This is the third edition of this practical reference book, essential reading for anyone with responsibility for a river. The Survival Guide takes a step-by-step approach to understanding how a river ‘works’, recognising the key elements of habitat for spawning, juvenile and adult trout, and then identifying and carrying out improvement projects.

The new edition has been updated to include the latest changes to legislation, guidance on trout stocking, up to date references and many new photographs to illustrate the text. 72 full colour  pages.

The guide was written by Vaughan Lewis and was produced with the support of the Environment Agency and the River Restora

Tuesday, 18th September 2012

Two Rivers Trusts are offering job opportunities:

There's a job on the Wandle in London - click here for further information

and another post with the South East Wales Trust - click here for further information

Wednesday, 12th September 2012

The October edition of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying (on sale now) contains an article by Peter Lapsley with the title:
'Catching them Young : How classrooms are being used to spread the word about life in our rivers'
The article includes a description of Mayfly in the Classroom and how this simple and low cost teaching aid can bring ecology to life in the classroom. 

Ben Tyser, latest recruit to the WTT, is working on expanding the number of schools involved and can provide training for teachers and ready made packs for raising mayflies.

 If your local school is interested in taking part, please contact him on btyser@wildtrout.org.

More information about Mayfly in the Classroom and teacher support resources are available - click here 

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Friday, 24th August 2012

The Leat is important an important fishery and has the potential to be fantastic habitat for wildlife, both in the river and on the banks. A project is being developed & planned by the WTT to carry out some improvements to the habitat to help the Leat achieve its potential as a place for wildlife and for people to enjoy.

This project uses tried and tested techniques and closely involves both Devon Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency. The project is also supported by Exeter City Council

It is hoped that this project will take place in the autumn before trout spawning, dependent upon consents and weather/ flow conditions.

Further updates will be posted on the website. For further details of the planned work, please click here.

 

Tuesday, 14th August 2012

The WTT has appointed Ben Tyser to the post of Research & Engagement Officer. Ben will be responsible for developing the education programme for the WTT, including Mayfly in the Classroom, and collating and disseminating the science based research that guides the WTT's work. Ben is an ecology post graduate from the university of East Anglia with fisheries management experience in Africa & the UK where he previously worked for the River Forth Fisheries Trust on invasive species catchment management.

Ben Tyser

Monday, 23rd July 2012

The Wild Trout Trust has for many years supported the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project (LCSP), so we are delighted to see that project has recently won the Bowland Award.

Presenting the award, National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) Chairman, Cllr Peter Stevens said “The LCSP is a very worthy winner of the Bowland Award and it is fitting that this year’s  recipient is a project that has contributed an outstanding environmental contribution to the well-being of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB actively promoting and delivering landscape-scale conservation through partnership working. I congratulate them on their achievements”.

Click here for the Press Release.

Ruth Snelson, LCSP Project Officer, receives the Bowland Award

Ruth Snelson receives Bowland Award

Thursday, 19th July 2012

As a special experiment, the well-known Ladybower reservoir fisheries will open up special day ticket access to WTT members to fish their two “wild” waters (Derwent and Howden reservoirs) during the remainder of the 2012 trout season. These waters have never been stocked and contain a very healthy head of self-sustaining wild brown trout that breed in a network of inlet streams.  Fish of around half a pound are abundant – with much larger specimens seen spawning each year! Imitative fishing close to the shoreline with both dry flies and subsurface patterns is highly effective – offering a wild upland stillwater experience close to the centre of England that is more usually associated with mountainous areas of Scotland, Ireland, Wales or the Lake District. The fishing will be 100% catch and release using barbless hooks with fish handling (wetted hands only) kept to a minimum.

Derwent Reservoir in the beautiful Peak District

The initial trial will offer day tickets (maximum of 10 per week to guarantee solitude and light angling pressure) to WTT supporters who present their membership details at the fishery office. Prices are £10 for WTT members and £15 for non-members. In addition, it is hoped that a small and dedicated syndicate will be developed in future to augment the day ticket opportunities offered to travelling members of the WTT.  With a combined shoreline length of almost 14 km there is plenty of opportunity to get away from it all and find your own pod of feeding trout in glorious surroundings.  Anyone wishing to be considered for the syndicate should register their interest in one of two ways:

  • When purchasing a day ticket
  • By direct contact to the Ladybower Fisheries staff by phone 01433 659712 or email Ladybowerfishing@aol.com
Monday, 16th July 2012

The first of a series of videos demonstrating habitat enhancement techniques is now available on the website.
Click here to view.

 

Paul Gaskell of the Wild Trout Trust is working with professional video company Fish On Productions to create a series of short videos that capture the work of the WTT. This first video describes the techniques used during a Practical Visit with the Wandle Trust.

Friday, 13th July 2012

The CLA Game Fair has been cancelled due to the weather and the resulting conditions at the site at Belvoir Castle. 

The WTT Game Fair team are sad that we will miss meeting all our friends and supporters, but look forward to seeing you next year if not before.  

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