Scottish Government inertia marks anniversary of Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee’s report into salmon farming

Scottish Government inertia marks anniversary of Scottish Parliament's Environment Committee's report into salmon farming

Industry allowed to persist with business as usual a year after Government was told 'the status quo is not an option'

One year on from the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee’s report on the Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming, the first part of the 2018 Scottish Parliament Inquiry into the industry, Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) is concerned that the report is being allowed to gather dust by both Scottish Government and the industry.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TCS, said:

“A year ago, the ECCLR Committee, could not have been clearer that any expansion of the industry ‘must be on the basis of a precautionary approach and must be based on resolving the environmental problems’ and that ‘the status quo is not an option’. It is obvious that almost nothing has changed and we fear that the Scottish Government’s game-plan is yet more of the prevarication that has allowed the industry to develop without meaningful regulation and at the expense of the coastal environment and those species, including migratory fish, which rely on healthy coastal ecosystems. Consequently, environmental damage is continuing and indeed increasing unchecked. Scottish Government’s completely unconditional support for the salmon farming industry must end.”

The 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry into salmon farming, as conducted by the ECCLR and REC Committees, was triggered by S&TCS' formal Petition to the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee in 2016.

Guy Linley-Adams, Solicitor for S&TCS, commented:

“The ECCLR Committee’s comprehensive report underlined why urgent action was required to protect wild salmon and sea trout. However, Scottish Government has not yet grasped the nettle and moved to legislate in order to improve markedly the protection of wild salmon and sea trout from the negative impacts of salmon farming.”

 

SSPO still failing to publish farm by farm sea lice data in as close to real time as possible

On transparency, the ECCLR Committee’s report was adamant that the industry should publish weekly data on sea lice figures on a farm by farm basis in as close to real time as possible, together with all historic data “from the time records are available”, this to be done
by the end of April 2018.

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation has not honoured this deadline, nor is it publishing current farm by farm sea lice data in as close as possible to real time, as the Committee required. In contrast it is only publishing monthly sea lice averages per farm more than three months in arrears and it is to the Scottish Government’s shame that they have not amended secondary legislation to force transparency on this most important of issues.

Welsh charities join forces for World Fish Migration Day

World Fish Migration Day

This Saturday we will be helping to celebrate the third World Fish Migration day. There will be a number of fascinating events and activities in Wales for people to enjoy and learn more about the life-cycle of migratory fish species.

This global initiative aims to highlight the importance of conserving migratory fish species and aquatic ecosystem. Approximately 50 countries will celebrate this inspiring day and more than 2,000 organisations are participating in the occasion, holding over 400 events ranging from dam removals and river clean-up activities to educational seminars and fishing events.

All around the world, people depend on fish for livelihoods, economic value and healthy ecosystems. But fish also depend on people, to be able to freely migrate and thrive. There are around 15,000 freshwater fish species known to migrate in some way during their life cycle including our wild salmon and sea trout. Around 1,100 of these are long-distance migratory fish that depend on free-flowing rivers to thrive, including the iconic European eel that migrates over 10,000 km between the Sargasso Sea and European.

Richard Garner Williams, National Officer for Salmon & Trout Conservation Cymru said:

“We are supporting this important initiative because it is vital that we raise awareness about the need to improve and restore our watery environments for migratory fish.

Rivers provide many services for us including water supply, hydropower, and irrigation but often these activities are carried out at high cost to the environment and migratory fish species. We would therefore urge people to attend some of the local events that are being organised in Wales as part of World Fish Migration Day. These will help all ages learn more about our rivers and importantly how we can make these safe havens for our very special fish species.”

Events being held across Wales on Saturday 21stApril for World Fish Migration Day include: 

  1. Super Sewin Saturday. Whitland Memorial Hall, Whitland, Carmarthenshire. S&TC Cymru, The West Wales Rivers Trust and natural Resources Wales. Open from: 11:00 – 14:00. Free admission. Presentations by : Dr Graeme Harris (renowned sea trout expert) - “ Welsh Sea Trout: recent developments and new questions” Dave Mee (Senior Adviser Fisheries, NRW) – “Science and the Sewin” Richard Garner Williams (S&TC Cymru) – “The Meaning of Sewin” Helen Jobson and Lloyd Williams (WWRT) – Riverfly Demonstration

Contact Richard Garner Williams    e. wales@salmon-trout.org   m. 078 0905 6152

  1. “Radyr Weir Fish Migration Day”Radyr Weir, Cardiff : South East Wales Rivers Trust, Natural Resources Wales, Cardiff Harbour Authority, Cardiff Council and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water from 10am-3pm. Entry is free, so bring the whole family along and join us for face painting, fun competitions and art and craft activities.  Pictures of work the Trust and others have carried out to improve fish migration on the River Taff, and in other areas, will be on display, along with a sample of river life. There will also be talks by organisations about their work in and along the Taff that has helped to transform a river, once blighted by industry, into one that is recognised far and wide for its fish populations, as well as wildlife.

Contact Tony Rees m. 07702435021    t. 01685723520  e. tony.rees@sewrt.org

  1. Journey with a fish up the River DeeChester Weir, Chester, The Welsh Dee Rivers Trust, Natural Resources Wales and the North Wales Wildlife Trust.  Admission is free and it runs from 11:00 – 14:00 pm
  2. Exploring the Afon Einig. Wye & Usk Fundation. The Wye and Usk Foundation’s event is at their HQ on The Square, Talgarth, Brecon LD3 0BW where they will be exploring the current status and hopes for the restoration of the Afon Ennig, a once prolific spawning ground for Wye salmon
  3. Swansea University Family Day.  This is a family day allowing families to learn about the research going on at Swansea. One of the activities will be a game illustrating the challenges faced by fish migrating downstream towards the sea. This activity will be run twice during the day so that as many attendees as possible can engage with it. Location: The Wallace Building, Singleton Park SA2 8PP

For more information on these events or World Fish Migration Day, please contact: Richard Garner Williams on email: wales@salmon-trout.org or m. 078 0905 6152 or visit the website for World Fish Migration Day at https://www.worldfishmigrationday.com

Pinpointing Pesticides – Our national survey now uses water insects to solve chemical puzzle

We are pleased to announce that pesticide fingerprints can now be detected using the Riverfly Census’ analytical tool kit… a massive breakthrough in monitoring water quality for neonicotinoids and other insect killing chemicals 

The Riverfly Census can now show the impact of pesticides on water quality in addition to the threats from nutrients, sediments, organic pollution and river flow.  This is thanks to the incorporation of SPEAR modelling into his biometric finger printing by Dr. Nick Everall and his team at Aquascience Consultancy Limited.

This development is hugely important. Chemical testing for pesticides is costly and difficult. Pesticide pollution can be fleetingly brief, wrecking damage but dispersing between the EA’s chemical sampling dates. Invertebrates live in the river. They will show the impact of pesticide pollution long after the pollutant has dispersed. Invertebrate sampling and analysis is also much cheaper than its chemical counterparts.

By inputting our species-level results into the tool, known as SPEAR, we have demonstrated a clear impact of pesticides in several Census rivers including the Avon, the Wensum and the Welland. We will be incorporating a full SPEAR analysis of all our Census’ rivers in the full report due later this year.

Widespread harmful pesticide presence in UK rivers was recently highlighted by Buglife, in a report based on Environment Agency data. However, the Buglife report needed S&TC’s Riverfly Census data to provide evidence of actual ecological damage by showing the impact of pesticides on aquatic bugs. The combination of our Census’ species-level data and SPEAR allows us for the first time to assess the impact as opposed to the presence of harmful pesticides.

Results from the Avon and the Wensum indicate that pesticides are impacting water quality on top the phosphate and sediment pressures already shown in the Census. The Wensum’s water quality has ranked poorly throughout the three years of the Census while the Avon’s quality has nose-dived from good in 2015 to poor in 2017.

Graph showing that as SPEAR score goes over the WFD threshold, Avon Gammarus abundance mostly declines
Graph showing that as SPEAR score goes over the WFD threshold, Avon Gammarus abundance mostly declines

Avon results

  • Three of our five sites showed a moderate pesticide signature in the autumn 2016 results.
  • In autumn 2017, again three sites showed a pesticide signature but this time two sites scored poorly (Stratford Bridge and Ham Hatches) and one moderate (Stonehenge).

Wensum results

  • The impact of pesticides on the Wensum appears wide spread. 57% of the 30 samples we took at 5 sites during 2015, 2016 & 2017 on the Wensum had a pesticide biological signature of moderate or worse.
  • Fakenham Common showed a pesticide signature for all samples except spring 2016.
  • Pensthorpe Nature Park showed a pesticide signature for all samples except Spring 2017. Two of the samples achieved bad, demonstrating a high impact of pesticides on the biology here.

We are very excited about the powers of SPEAR and its potential to answer some of the big questions we all have about what pesticides are doing to our water life.

We are keen to work with the EA to seek wider adoption of SPEAR in their invertebrate water quality monitoring and river classification under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).  In Europe, these measures of pesticide biological signatures are classed as WFD threshold failures for good ecological condition. We have already started analysing historic EA results with SPEAR.

We firmly believe the tool can be a great asset our quest to achieve more informed and effective management of our rivers.

For more information on the Riverfly Census email lauren@salmon-trout.org or click the button below:

To learn more about SPEAR click the following links:

Salmon Farming Update – The Power of Mass Media

Salmon Farming Update: Inquiry progress from our Scottish Director…

As someone who has done PR to a greater and lesser extent for wild fisheries interests for almost two decades, I am invariably pleased, when asked, to spend time explaining the issues to journalists. This approach often pays dividends as it maximises the chances of a story being informed and accurate from a wild fisheries perspective.

In February 2017 I received a call out of the blue from a freelance journalist called Joe Crowley, seeking information on the issue of the impact of sea lice from salmon farming on wild fish. We spoke for the best part of an hour and I sent him a wealth of material. Over the following months this correspondence continued as he immersed himself in the subject with the aim of him producing a documentary for BBC or Channel 4 – neither of which transpired. He did, however, persuade BBC1’s The One Show to commit to producing two short films, fronted by himself, on the massive scale of disease, parasites and mortalities on Scottish salmon farms. I was interviewed by Joe and The One Show team on the sea lice factor on a bitterly cold November morning in Wester Ross.

Joe’s two four-minute films, entitled “The Dead Salmon Run”, were aired on The One Show on consecutive evenings in mid-December. I confess that prior to this, because I never normally switch on the television until 8 pm at the earliest, I had not previously seen an episode of The One Show. The programme on the first evening opened with the spectacle of Robbie Williams up a stepladder affixing a fairy to the top of the Show’s Christmas tree. Immediately I was at a loss to understand how such celebrity culture could possibly blend with hard-hitting environmental material but seconds later the scale and reality of the disposal of thousands of tonnes of putrefying dead salmon was being beamed out across the UK as the intrepid reporter followed leaking waste trucks from one end of Scotland to another.

With an audience for The One Show of some 5 million the impact of the two films was seismic. For the next fortnight or so everyone I met or spoke to seemed to have seen them – and, more important, they were universally horrified as regards what actually happens in industrial-scale salmon farming. Critically the films seemed to touch a nerve amongst politicians.

I have no doubt at all that The One Show was a pivotal factor in what I can only describe as a sea change in attitude amongst the great majority of MSPs – they no longer believe the glib assurances of the industry that it is environmentally responsible and that disease and parasites are under control, they are appalled by its lax environmental standards and record, they are adamant that regulation must be tightened significantly and that closed containment must be positively investigated and embraced.

This all set the tone for the first stage of the Scottish Parliament’s Inquiry into salmon farming which kicked off in January with the Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee considering the environmental impacts. In early March it published, signed off unanimously by MSPs from all parties, a truly damning report (“The status quo is not an option”).


VIEW REPORT

This report is underpinning the second stage of the Inquiry, now being carried by out the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee with its wider remit to look at the future of salmon farming. Wild fish interests, including S&TC Scotland, gave oral evidence on March 14. Clearly the Committee members were entirely accepting that salmon farming damages wild salmon and sea trout and the issues (particularly sea lice) must be addressed.


WATCH EVIDENCE

The REC Committee is inviting written evidence up to April 27. See http://www.parliament.scot/S5_Rural/Inquiries/REC_Salmon_Inquiry_CFV.pdf

We are certainly not complacent but the last few months have produced very significant political progress towards ending the harm being done to wild salmon and sea trout by radically changing the salmon farming industry for good. Stay tuned for the next salmon farming update.

Have your say on rivers in Wales

Rivers in Wales: have your say

Many of the rivers in Wales are facing a range of ecological threats which threaten to render them unfit for the wild fish and other aquatic wildlife that depend on clean freshwaters to survive.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural spring seminar, we have decided to provide another opportunity for stakeholders from all sides of the debate to share their views and help drive forward the changes required to protect these precious freshwater environments.

This year’s seminar will be held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on Tuesday, April the 3rd.

Our Welsh National Officer Richard Garner Williams explains the significance of this event:

“It was evident from our seminar last year that a change in priorities and approach is required if we are to manage the land without detriment to the rivers in Wales.

As the only wholly independent charity campaigning for wild fish and their environment we are in a good position to act as mediator and catalyst in encouraging stakeholders to progress from the discussion stage and implement change.”

Many rivers in Wales are currently suffering from alarming levels of pollution from source to sea.

In the uplands, forestry plantations are causing the acidification of spawning grounds and nursery areas to the point that they are incapable of sustaining any complex life forms while in the lowlands, chronic and acute pollution arising from intensive agricultural practices is having a devastating effect, not only on fish but also on aquatic invertebrates such as mayflies, sedges and dragonflies as well as freshwater plantlife. This, in turn, is affecting the fortunes of other species such as kingfishers, dippers and otters which cannot survive without a flourishing freshwater environment.

Richard Garner Williams continues:

“It is appalling that many of our rivers in Wales are under as much threat from human activity now as they were at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Agricultural pollution affects some 180 individual waterbodies in Wales and the number of reported pollution incidents shows no sign of a decline.

Restoring the health of the rivers in Wales to their former glory is paramount, and this year’s seminar will present the opportunity for us to dig deeper into the principle challenges arising from land management and identify workable and immediate solutions.”

The seminar will run from 10.00am to 3.00pm and will include a light lunch. A full list of contributors will be available in due course.

The event is free to attend for all those interested in the future health of rivers in Wales. To book a place to attend, please contact: Richard Garner Williams by email on: wales@salmon-trout.org. Places will be limited, so please book early in order to participate and have your say at this significant event.

Applauding the Environment Committee report into environmental impacts of salmon farming

Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland applauds Environment Committee report into environmental impacts of salmon farming. 

The Scottish Parliament’s Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has today published its report into the environmental impacts of salmon farming. This comprehensive report underlines why urgent action is required to protect wild salmon and sea trout


VIEW REPORT

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TC Scotland, said:

“Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland is delighted by the Committee’s Report.

This is a complete vindication of what we have been arguing for many years now, often in the face of denials and opposition from within Scottish Government and Scottish public authorities, that open cage salmon farming in sea lochs is way out of balance with the environment, particularly with the conservation of wild salmon and sea trout.

It was our formal Petition to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 that has led us to this moment.

We are grateful to all the MSP members of both the Petitions Committee and the Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and we will now work with the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, in their forthcoming review of salmon farming, to come up with the solutions.

For S&TC Scotland, that must mean, in the medium term, moving the entire industry into closed containment, either on land, or in marine structures, built by Scottish marine engineering expertise.

However, in the short term, there must be an immediate moratorium on all new farms or any expansion of existing farms, until all impacts, including those on wild salmon and sea trout are under proper control, which the Committee clearly realises is not the case today.

We also need an urgent change in Scottish law, to plug the gap in the law that fails to protect wild salmon and sea trout from the damage caused by fish farms. At last, that legal gap has been recognised and MSPs now have a duty to enact new law, as soon as they can, to protect these iconic Scottish species.”

Issued by Andrew Graham-Stewart (telephone 01863 766767 or 07812 981531) on behalf of Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland

Alresford Salads threaten a struggling English chalkstream

Currently many of our rivers across the UK are impacted by a variety of undesirable inputs.  Influencing the future health of these important waterways is one of our key objectives. We continue to be extremely concerned about a worrying example of pollution by Alresford Salads on the Upper Itchen in Hampshire.

Alresford Salads, who process and package watercress and other salads into bags for supermarkets have applied for a change to its license to discharge chemicals directly into the river.  In the past, they have used chlorine to wash salads, and still use chlorine-based chemicals to clean down the processing plant at the end of the day’s production.

These chemicals are lethal to fish and aquatic insects.

Nick Measham from Salmon & Trout Conservation said:

“It is extraordinary that chlorine was ever allowed to be discharged into any UK river, but the fact that it was allowed into the Itchen, a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive, is staggering. And, if the proposed license variation goes through, the plant will still be discharging lethal chemicals.”

The Itchen is protected by the highest possible environmental legal status under EU law – the Habitats Directive and is classified as a Special Area of Conservation.  However, monitoring of the river by S&TC since 2013 for phosphates as well as water invertebrates since 2015 through its Riverfly Census, identifies that this once highly-prized river is critically degraded with the consequential loss of vital insects and other water invertebrates such as Gammarus Pulex – a freshwater shrimp – which is a core component of the food chain.

The Environment Agency is currently reviewing this new discharge variation licence for Alresford Salads through the National Permitting process for licencing discharges into watercourses.

Nick Measham, adds:

“This processing plant was first licensed by the Environment Agency in 2002. This was a mistake and it is hardly surprising that this once pristine chalkstream is now recording such dismal results.”

Recent monitoring on the Itchen by S&TC researchers measured Gammarus in depressingly low numbers. For example, under 100 Gammarus were recorded in many kick samples. 500 is the minimum benchmark we have agreed with the local Environment Agency, which represents a functioning, healthy system. In addition, riverfly richness was also below the figure expected of a river of this nature. This poor water insect outturn has a knock-on effect for all aquatic wildlife.

Nick Measham continues:

“We have always been opposed to the discharge of any effluent directly into the Itchen or any other river on precautionary grounds, but until now have not had the evidence to build a persuasive case to challenge the Environment Agency. Our monitoring over such a long period of time has certainly built a very strong case.”

The salad washing plant will continue to discharge cleaning chemicals that contain sufficient toxic materials to cause serious population crashes of Gammarus for some distance downstream of the discharge point.  The discharged chemicals react to form chloramines which are highly toxic even in very low concentrations in water.

Nick Measham explains:

“We are dismayed that there appears to be no understanding of the well documented combined toxicity of surfactants and chlorinated compounds found in the current and proposed cleaning chemicals used at Alresford Salads. Combined effects of chemical mixtures should be taken into account for sound ecological risk assessments.  Risk assessments made by both the chemical manufacturers and the product distributors of products containing those chemicals are unequivocal when they stipulate that such materials should not be allowed in waterways.”

In order to protect the Itchen from further destruction, we are keen to find solutions.

Nick Measham said:

“If this permit is granted it will have long-lasting implications for all aquatic life on the Itchen.

But in a stroke this issue could be resolved.

Alresford Salads could connect its operation to the main sewer, which is about 500 yards away.  Indeed, its nearby competitor, Vitacress has done just this on the Bourne Rivulet and pays Southern Water for the privilege.  This would mean further investment by this wealthy company,  but in the long term it would protect this once-famous river from potential chemical pollution from the salad washing plant.

This surely must be a priority for a Government environmental regulator and a company keen to bolster its environmental credentials.”

In addition, the charity is requesting that the Environment Agency’s National Permitting process is reviewed in light of the lessons learnt from this process on the Itchen.

Nick Measham concludes:

“We believe the public should be aware of these questionable decisions by our regulators who seem to put short-term business interests above environmental protection.

Chemical discharge should not be allowed into any watercourse, especially a highly protected chalkstream.

Alresford Salads who are owned by Bakkavor – a multi-national company, claim to be green but they are showing scant regard for protecting this important chalkstream in southern England.”

Will the Environment Agency’s proposals to protect wild salmon work?

Can the EA Protect Wild Salmon?

We warmly receive the Environment Agency’s proposed new measures to protect wild salmon stocks, but we emphasise that they need to be implemented rapidly to save this threatened species.

The 2015 national salmon stock assessment indicated that wild salmon stocks in many rivers across England had failed to meet their minimum conservation targets. Further monitoring since then has shown that this trend has continued downwards.

Paul Knight, our CEO says:

“We are delighted that the campaigning and responses of S&TC and other organisations to the Environment Agency’s consultation on salmon stocks has resulted in these new proposals to protect wild salmon and sea trout.

The proposed closure of net fisheries on the North East coast of England by 2019 is a promising start but we believe the case is extremely pressing and action should be taken this year and not delayed for yet another season.”

Mixed stock coastal netting stations indiscriminately catch any salmon passing by, regardless of where they are heading or the strength of the population in their home rivers.

They are completely non-selective, making the management of individual river stocks almost impossible. In addition, many rivers that should see returning fish are designated as “At Risk”. The random nature of mixed stock fisheries therefore makes it extremely difficult to determine the impact of such fisheries on these vulnerable river sites.

Under pressure from S&TC and other organisations, the Scottish Government finally announced the closure of all Scottish netting fisheries in 2016.  However, coastal mixed stock netting stations still occur along the North East coast of England. While this is not under Scottish jurisdiction, between 30-70% (depending on area fished) of wild salmon caught are from Scottish stocks.

Paul Knight continues:

“We agree that the reason for the dramatic decline in wild salmon is complex.  Atlantic salmon are wild migratory fish with a unique life cycle. Leaving its distant marine feeding areas, this iconic fish returns to the river where it was born to lay eggs, but to do this they face immense challenges.  Many of these are caused by direct human impact – so it is in our gift to save this fascinating species for future generations, but time is running short.”

S&TC has long battled with the Scottish Government on fish farming and the impact that this is having on wild stocks of salmon because of the dramatic rise in sea lice populations.  The charity is also helping to protect wild salmon ‘s fresh water habitats through its Riverfly Census, which has identified that pollution from sediment and phosphate is having a direct effect on water quality to the detriment of all aquatic wildlife including wild salmon.

Paul Knight concludes:

“Pollution has reached an alarming level in many of our rivers and much more work needs to be done to protect these spawning grounds for salmon as well as other wild fish.

This will involve a major re-think in the way our water is managed through improved regulations, stricter penalties for polluters and more in-depth monitoring of water quality.”

In addition, S&TC is concerned that these new proposals do not address the conservation status of sea trout. Although considerable effort has gone into identifying the conservation status of Atlantic salmon and its complex lifecycle, we know far less about how sea trout are faring, although they share very similar characteristics and habitats to salmon.  More detailed research on the status of sea-trout populations is urgently needed to protect this species too.

The Environment Agency will advertise the proposed byelaws to protect salmon in late February 2018 and is inviting responses to the proposals either online or via letter. We welcome this new opportunity to protect wild salmon, provided it can be effectively activated.

Chlorinated chemicals in our areas of conservation? Just say no!

Chlorinated Chemicals

One of our main objectives is to influence the clean-up of rivers across the UK, where many waterways are impacted by a variety of undesirable inputs. We use local issues to bring attention to problems at national level, and one such case is very topical on the Upper Itchen right now.

Alresford Salads, who process and package watercress and other salads into bags for supermarkets, has applied for a new licence to discharge chemicals directly into the river.  In the past, they have used chlorine to wash salads, and still use chlorine-based chemicals to clean down the processing plant at the end of the day’s production. These chemicals are lethal to fish and aquatic insects. It is extraordinary that chlorine was ever allowed to be discharged into any UK river, but the fact that it was allowed into the Itchen, a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive, is staggering.

Without going into huge detail, these licenses are controlled by a central Environment Agency (EA) National Permitting department.  Alresford Salads has applied for a licence to use new chemicals and, although we suspect that local EA people are unhappy with any such discharge into the river, their advice seems to have been ignored by EA National Permitting who appear instead to have given way to commercial interests rather than do their job to protect the river environment.  True, they have followed a box-ticking exercise which includes an Environmental Impact Assessment of the new chemicals that Alresford Salads now intend to use, but they are still prepared for chemicals to be poured directly into the river daily – and what would happen if there was an accidental spillage of, say, concentrated chemical?

The solution would have been simple – the EA could have forced Alresford Salads to connect to the mains sewer as its competitor, Vitacress, does on the Bourne Rivulet (a stream with no SAC or SSSI protection).  It would have cost money, of course, but it would have protected this once-famous river from potential chemical pollution from the salad washing plant, and that, surely, is the priority for an environmental regulator?

Vitacress, a competitor of Alresford Salads is connected to the mains sewer on the Bourne Rivulet
Vitacress, a competitor of Alresford Salads is connected to the mains sewer on the Bourne Rivulet

This decision is astounding in 21st century UK.  It shouldn’t matter that the Itchen is one of our high profile chalkstreams – chemical discharge should not be allowed into any watercourse – but it is especially concerning that we cannot even protect these SAC rivers properly.

Our Riverfly Census, which reports in a few months’ time on 3-years of invertebrate data analysis across 20 English and Welsh rivers, will show that sediment and phosphate are the biggest culprits of poor water quality.  Our recently published peer-reviewed scientific paper (link below) shows that sediment and phosphate are both lethal to blue winged olive eggs, and almost certainly to many other water insect species as well.  In Wales, slurry pollutes rivers on a seemingly weekly basis, and nothing is done about it.

We must stop this pollution, and make sure that our regulators face up to their responsibilities to protect the environment, rather than cave in to commercial interest.

See Blue Winged Olive Egg Study by Nick Everall et al.

For more information on the Riverfly Census email lauren@salmon-trout.org or click the button below:


Access here


Riverfly Census

Sea Trout Science and Management

Sea Trout Science and Management is a book containing the proceedings of the 2nd International Sea Trout Symposium, held in Ireland in 2016.

The Proceedings are edited by Graeme Harris, an eminent authority on sea trout and long-term member and scientific adviser to S&TC.

S&TC was one of the Symposium’s sponsors and these proceedings prove what an excellent insight was given by specialists across many fields into sea trout science and management – as well as what we know and what gaps are still there in our knowledge.

The Symposium provided several challenges to sea trout scientists and managers, as well as a full update on sea trout work and issues from different countries, and these proceedings are therefore essential reading for all those with an interest in this magnificent fish.

This important new volume updates developments in the sea trout science and management in the Northwest Atlantic since the 1st International Symposium on ‘Sea Trout: Biology, Conservation & Management’ in Cardiff, Wales in July 2004.

It includes 30 peer-reviewed papers by acknowledged experts under the broad themes of:

  • Understanding Anadromy
  • Populations & Management
  • Movement & Migration
  • Monitoring & Surveillance
  • Ecology & Behaviour
  • Threat Assessment

To see full contents list click HERE

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Learn more about the book and how to access it using the link below


Click Here to learn more about Sea Trout Science and Management