There have been further problems this week with salmon and sea trout trying to swim up the Hydro’s Archimedes Screw, being hit by the turning blades, and catapulted violently into the air. In some cases fish have been thrown with such force that they have hit the wire protection cage above the screw. The still photograph below taken on Monday September 18th 2017 shows that happening.
To try and prevent further fish from being damaged, on Wednesday September 20th 2017 the Environment Agency asked the operators Durham County Council to reduce the flow through the turbine by 50%. The idea being to reduce the flow so that there is no white water at the bottom of the screw; it is the surge of white water that attracts the fish to the screw, with the inevitable consequences.
It is not known how long the system will run at half power but clearly now and the following two months is the most important for spawning migratory fish.
In the mean time the EA have installed a camera in the cage over the screw to monitor the situation. Fish Legal, the legal arm of the Angling Trust have also written a strongly worded letter to the Environment Agency threatening legal action unless the matter is resolved.
It is not known how many fatalities there have been to date as recent high water levels have washed away evidence from the site. So if any anglers’ or members of the public should find any dead salmon or sea trout down stream from the Hydro then the matter should be reported either to the Environment Agency or their local angling club.