A copy of the minutes of the SWRA council meeting held Tuesday 4 January 2011
Humphrey Wood (Chairman), Phil Carey (Lyn), Neil Davenport (Tavy), Jon Evans (Camel), Alex Gibson (Taw), Pat Howgill (Teign), Charles Inniss (Torridge), Tyson Jackson (Camel), Henry Llewellyn (Chairman-elect), Nick Lintott (Lynher), John Malleson (Teign), Mac McCarthy (Taw), Duncan Michie (N Devon STA), Dennis Mitchell (Dart), John Montague (South Devon STA), Steve Phelps (Torridge), Martin Plough (Yealm), Bill Smith (Fowey), Ben Simpson (Exe), Bruce Stockley (WRT), Arthur White (Treasurer), Roger Furniss (Secretary)
Paul Arnott (Axe), Rodney Bastard (Yealm), Dylan Bright (WRT), Andrew Caldwell (Exe), Lord Clinton (President), Sir Simon Day (Erme), Brian Dent(Avon), Charles Dutton (Frome and Piddle), Richard McLaughlin (Lyn), Brian Marshall (Wessex Salmon and Chalkstream Trust), Bryan Martin (Taw), William May Somerville (Tamar), Bill Robertson (Dart),
2�� Opening Remarks
The Chairman welcomed Henry Llewellyn, Chairman-elect, to his first meeting.
The Secretary reported that David Bickell (Plym), Andrew Lyle (Lyn) and Rupert Lascelles (Torridge) had resigned from the Committee and been replaced by Charles Batt, Richard McLaughlin and Steve Phelps respectively. Council recorded their appreciation of the support David, Andrew and Rupert had given over the years.
3� �Minutes of Meeting Held on 4 October 2010
The minutes were approved and signed by the Chairman.
4��� Matters Arising
Succession � the Chairman reported that Bill Robertson had agreed to be Deputy Chairman (Devon). The draft letter to Anne Voss Bark was agreed and will be hand delivered by the Chairman. Action HW
Mixed Stock Fisheries � it was agreed that the Secretary discuss the weight of genetic evidence with Dylan Bright with a view to its use to influence Defra policy on estuarial netting. Action RF.
With regard to netting reduction Tyson Jackson made the following points:
- The current piecemeal, river by river, approach to net buy backs and Net Limitation Orders is unsatisfactory as some rivers cannot afford ongoing costs, and there is no guarantee of permanent reduction in netting effort
- The Camel, Exe and Tamar all have NLO expiry or buy outs imminent
- He proposed that the current approach be abandoned and replaced with a proposal to Defra that netting be regulated by catch quota, as in commercial sea fisheries � this would equate to the voluntary quotas already operated by anglers
- He had raised this possibility at a recent visit by Atlantic Salmon Trust whose Director (England and Wales), Ivor Llewellyn, had agreed to raise it with the Agency
- Simon Toms (EA Regional Fisheries Specialist) is supportive
- He suggested a 10 salmon per net per year cap
The Chairman commented as follows:
- A good idea in principle as an alternative approach rather than a replacement for existing options
- It could be a long hard battle to effect with a need for change in the law
- Taw/Torridge had stuck firmly to a contract which prevented bought out licensees re-entering the fishery later
- The genetic approach to identifying estuaries as Mixed Stock Fisheries which should then be closed has potential
The Secretary reported that the Exe is well advanced in its buy out and would not be prepared to pull out at this stage.
Arthur White expressed concern at the difficulty of policing and setting an appropriate quota.
It was agreed that the Secretary discuss the proposed approach and other possible ways of removing all nets (in line with SWRA objectives) with Ivor Llewellyn and Paul Knight (Salmon and Trout Association). Action RF
5� �Reports from Rivers
The Camel reported an exceptional salmon season followed by numbers of large fish after 15 December. There was a very late run of sea trout.
The Fowey counter had recorded 2,000 more sea trout than 2009 (not reflected in catches), 200 more than the 10-year average. Results of WRT juvenile survey are still awaited.
The Exe season was average. Juvenile survey results from the Haddeo which runs from Wimbleball were the best since 1974, following habitat improvement work.
The Teign had a reasonable salmon year, albeit with catches mostly confined to two high water periods.
The Torridge salmon spawning was late and there appears to be an increasing late run
The Taw was badly affected by the summer drought which only broke on the Mole, leaving the Upper Taw continuing to cause concern.
The Lyn �had a reasonable season.
The Tavy had a good end to the season and a good late run of salmon post-season
The Dart had a good late run of fresh grilse and spawning appeared good. There was an enormous run of school peal.
The Lynher had the best salmon run since the mid-80�s, and a good number of school peal not reflected in catches
The Yealm had a poor sea trout season despite a good run in August. Salmon numbers were high in November/December. The outcome of the New England Quarry waste disposal proposal is still awaited.
The Avon had a good autumn salmon run.
5.� �Secretary�s Report
The Secretary�s report was noted. He reported that Geoff Bateman, Pollution Inspector in North Devon in the 1980�s and more recently Area Manager (Devon), was to replace Mat Crocker as the Environment Agency�s Head of Fisheries in April.
6���� Treasurer�s Report
Arthur White presented the Statement of Income and Expenditure for 2010. It showed an end of year balance of �13,986 compared with �10,210 at the end of 2009
On behalf of the whole Council the Chairman thanked Arthur for his many years of service as Treasurer, on which he would expand at the AGM.
7�� Bank Mandate
The following Resolution was passed unanimously:
It is proposed that following the retirement of Humphrey Wood as Chairman, Henry Llewellyn be appointed Chairman.
It is proposed that following the retirement of Arthur White as Treasurer, Mac McCarthy be appointed Treasurer.
It is proposed that the Bank Mandate be amended such that the Treasurer be authorised to sign cheques in his sole capacity up to the sum of �100 and that cheques in excess of �100 be signed by any two of the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
The Secretary had been unable to attend the meeting on 10 December.
The main matter is arrangements for continued input to the Agency following the end of RFERAC�s in 2011. The Cornwall Area Fisheries Forum has been suggested as a model, although it is not currently replicated elsewhere in the region. Members are being surveyed for their views. The demise will make SWRA�s work even more important.
The notes of the Best Practice Group meeting held on 4 October were noted.
Nick Lintott reported that the Group is working well with useful sharing of experience and ideas. Involvement of the Agency and WRT is generally beneficial.
Arthur White expressed concern that the �breakaway� group on the Taw (ULTRA) is not a member and that the four broodstock salmon it had captured had all died. The Chairman explained that the main Taw Association is not anti-hatchery, is currently focussed on improving access, and is willing to work with ULTRA.
10 �EA Liaison Meeting
The draft minutes of the meeting held on 18 October were noted.
Pat Howgill reported that the Teign Association had been told that Salmon Action Plans are �aspirational� and that he was pressing for them to have clearly defined objectives against which success could be measured. This will be put on the next Agenda. Action RF.
The Secretary reported that the AT/WWF legal action had brought the EA and Defra to the table to discuss remedies and avoid formal Judicial Review.
11 2011 AGM
The draft programme was agreed, including the proposal that Pete Kibel of Fishtek be invited to speak on hydropower and fisheries. Action RF
12 Water Framework Directive
The Secretary reported that the Angling Trust/WWF application for Judicial Review of Defra and the EA�s approach to River Basin Plans was still being discussed and that a satisfactory outcome avoiding the need to proceed was probable as many of our points were being addressed. It is expected that a formal document will be agreed. A meeting with the Minister, Richard Benyon MP, is planned for 25 January. �
It was reported that BCU had gone quiet, possibly as a result of Andy Green, national Access Officer, leaving, and the helpful outcome of the Welsh Assembly Government
Sustainability Committee investigation into cane access.
The Secretary reported that the number of applications in the region is increasing with many requiring significant work to protect fisheries and riparian interests.
The Association�s letter to the Lyn Community Development Trust had not resulted in the hoped-for abandonment of the proposed scheme, but the Secretary is still working closely with the Lyn Association to fight the scheme.
At national level the Agency continues to show its bias towards hydro and against fisheries. Angling Trust is working closely with Salmon and Trout Association, Atlantic Salmon Trust and others, all of which withdrew from a planned meeting on policy development in protest at the Agency�s lack of proper consultation. Following this a letter of complaint was sent to the EA�s Chief Executive, copied to Ministers, and he has agreed to a personal meeting.
15�� Westcountry Rivers Trust
Bruce Stockley reported the following key activities:
- Successful completion of the Head Weir (Mole/Taw) removal and replacement with a boulder ramp
- Defra-funded proposals for fish passage improvement at Clapworthy Weir (Bray/Mole/Taw), and Palmers Brewery (Frome)
- Endsleigh Hatchery continued success
- AARC Project funding continuation
- Sea Trout genetic studies will continue with scale collection again in 2011
The proposal that each river be asked to complete the WRT survey of hydro/fish pass win/win opportunities was agreed subject to WRT understanding the need to coordinate with existing initiatives. The Secretary will include the template with these minutes. Action RF.
16� Dates of 2011 Meetings
Council – Monday 7 March, Monday 6 June, Monday 3 October. AGM � Saturday 16 April.