Speedy Salmon?

6 Nov

Fish speeds and ability to leap.

Ever wondered why some fish seem to disappear so quickly when spooked, then here’s your answer. The following Environment Agency chart gives the swimming abilities of the species named.

Interestingly the world record swimming speed for a human was set in 1990 in Nashville Tennessee by Tom Jager of the USA who recorded a time of 2.29m/s (equivalent to 5mph) over 50 meters. So by direct comparison, humans in water can be quite quick, but a fish out of water – well they’ve got no chance!

Durham Hydro – Update.

20 Oct

During the current season (2019) the number of migratory fish trying to enter the Archimedes screw chamber seems to have declined. This is in no small part due to the operators Durham County Council, to there credit, turning the screw revolutions down during the period May till the end of October. This has reduced the white water at the base of the screw providing less of an attraction to migrating fish. Although during periods of high water fish have still been using the Larinier fish pass at the side of the screw.

There does not appear to have been any significant fish mortalities this season and it is believed that the operators have still been able to generate sufficient energy to meet their needs.

The protective flaps over the chamber also appear to have worked and it is anticipated that these will be lengthened in due course as a further preventative measure.

Along with these measures the Environment Agency have commissioned an independent report from a company specialising in the design of fish passes. The report highlights flaws in most of the existing Framwellgate fish passes with recommendations and costs on how to rectify matters.

With the EA still under austerity controls, only limited funding is available and the EA have decided to bid for 2020 funding to improve fish access to the lower weir near to the Archimedes screw, one of the reports principal recommendations. This will entail using stop logs to reduce the flow through the central notch and diverting water to the notch in the weir adjoining the screw which will also be reduced in depth and widened to create easier access. At the same time work will be undertaken to the base of the Larinier fish pass to create more white water in an attempt to draw fish away from entering the screw chamber.

Everything depends on funding of course so let’s hope it happens.

Tees Barrage!

12 Oct

In 1995 a barrage was installed on the River Tees to combat industrial pollution and to also control flooding. However, for all the good the Tees Barrage has done in helping clean the river up and reducing flooding. The barrage causes a significant barrier to Atlantic Salmon & Sea trout from reaching their spawning grounds. Due to the design of the barrage gates this also creates a catastrophic amount of predation below the barrage as the migratory fish do not have a free flowing passage through the barrage.

There is currently a fish pass installed at the barrage, but this was an after thought during the initial design as the designers were led to believe there were no migratory fish in the Tees due to the pollution having killed of the majority of aquatic life.

A petition has been set up to have a fully functioning fish pass installed on Gate 1 that is available for 24 hrs a day, everyday, to allow the free movement of fish both upstream and downstream. Currently fish can only pass at very specific tide times and if they miss this window of opportunity they are then at extreme risk of predation.

The Tees is categorised by the Environment Agency as “at risk” due to it’s low returns. If nothing is done and done soon, we could loose this iconic species from the Tees altogether.

Please support the campaign to get the Tees back to the once great salmon river it used to be.

The petition link is :- http://chng.it/ZcH9z9s9yN

Storm Desmond?

11 Oct

Season 2019

There are conflicting views as to whether or not 2019 has been a good or a poor season. Although it is not yet over most anglers seem to be having mixed fortunes with some scoring at the right time and yet others claiming there are no fish in the rivers. Presumably the truth is some where in between. All rivers seem to have fish but not many.

One theory going the rounds that also seems to be the official Environment Agency view is that ‘Storm Desmond’ destroyed a considerable number of ‘redds’ during the 2015 spawning period and this has led to a dearth of migratory fish both in 2018/2019.

To refresh your memory on the 5th – 6th December 2015 – Storm Desmond brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to most of the north.

Storm Desmond was an extratropical cyclone and fourth named storm of the 2015–16 UK and Ireland windstorm season, notable for directing a plume of moist air, known as an atmospheric river, which brought record amounts of orographic rainfall to upland areas of northern Atlantic Europe.
In the United Kingdom the worst affected areas were centred on Cumbria, parts of Lancashire and the Scottish Borders.

Storm Desmond was the fourth named storm of the season and brought severe gales with gusts up to 81 mph.  This was accompanied by record-breaking rainfall which brought flooding to areas across the north of England. On some rivers floods of 5 meters plus were recorded.

Honister Pass in Cumbria recorded 341.4 mm of rainfall in the 24-hours up to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015 making a new UK record.

The same period of rainfall also set a new 48-hour record (from 0900 to 0900 hrs) with 405 mm rainfall recorded at Thirlmere in Cumbria in just 38 hours.

Site Name

Area

Rainfall Total mm

Thirlmere

Cumbria

405

Shap

Cumbria

262.6

Keswick

Cumbria

178.4

Blencathra

Cumbria

174.8

Capel Curig

Gwynedd

170.6

Tyndrum

Perthshire

141

Eskdalemuir

Dumfriesshire

139.2

Bainbridge

North Yorkshire

136

Cluanie Inn

Ross & Cromarty

132.8

The record-breaking rainfall associated with Storm Desmond caused severe disruption, flooding 5,200 homes across Lancashire and Cumbria. Several major roads across the north of England and Scotland were flooded and there was major disruption to rail services in the north of England while a landslide closed a section of the West Coast mainline between Preston and Carlisle.

If this theory is true then no doubt it will be some time before migratory fish stocks recover. It maybe 2021/22 before any significant improvement is recorded. So what future for the remaining north east net fishery? Commercial netting is simply not sustainable in such circumstances. And surely compulsory catch and release now seems inevitable.