Subject:River stock management improvements & Prof Revell research study of Severn/Dee rod catch. Thanks to Mike Ashwin

From: Mike Ashwin
Sent: 02 January 2020 15:07
To: Stone, Heidi <heidi.stone@environment-agency.gov.uk>; Talks, Lawrence <lawrence.talks@environment-agency.gov.uk>; simon toms <simon.toms@environment-agency.gov.uk>; brian shields <brian.shields@environment-agency.gov.uk>; Bainger, Chris <chris.bainger@environment-agency.gov.uk>; Gough, Peter <Peter.Gough@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk>; Mee, David <David.Mee@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk>; Davidson, Ian <Ian.Davidson@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk>
Cc:alan.walker@cefas.co.uk <alan.walker@cefas.co.uk>
 ​Dear colleagues,

This communication is circulated to lead EA & NRW managers/advisers and will be forwarded to EFG & WFF representatives involved in ongoing Byelaw/Stock management dialogue, authors of key elements of River stock reporting methodology and rod fisheries groups.   It expresses the direction of engagement and collaboration rod fisheries have been seeking in shared areas of improved salmon stock management, and our ongoing actions to secure this. It is sent for reasons that usual channels of communication have become truncated and locked during Byelaw and system review process. 

A small group of rod fisheries individuals has been engaged in developing and communicating these improvements:

1.   In the first instance, forming and making recommendations to Defra & Welsh Cabinet Ministers in letters of 9th April & 17th Sept 2018 presented by Mark Lloyd of the AT on behalf of NWATFCC & CPWF. Those recommendations being part of  E & W National Byelaw “processes” and set out specific rod fisheries requests that :

  •  a national rod exploitation rate review take place to report on seasonal factors influencing rod catch and river spawning estimates and incorporate as annual revising river estimates for assessment purposes.
  •  for improvements to angler rod catch reporting systems & River stock reporting procedures.
  • for validation and periodic QA review of the  of the River Classification system 
  • steps are taken to “re-introduce” a harmonised E & W stock reporting, classification, decision structure process.
  •  that interim (three year) E & W voluntary rod C & R measures are agreed and introduced to enable these review/improvement processes to be concluded and steer delivery of common Byelaw proposals. In hindsight adoption of this would have forestalled the contested positions we now find ourselves defending.  

2.   In communicating the reasons for improvements and recommendations by NWATFCC & CPWF to current system procedures as part of submissions to the drafting of the NASCO 2019 – 24 Implementation Plan. If EFG & WFF representatives are not aware of these, then I recommend those are made available.The recommendations set out fundamental change to outdated SAP and CL annual estimates, calculation of annual estimates to incorporate seasonal factors in rod catch, current River status methodology and decision processes. And a much longer term vision to harmonising and creating a common UK mainland conservation policy (England, Wales & Scotland). These involve extracting elements of our reporting and assessment procedures that were introduced in 2004 without validation or periodic QA review. And adoption of a Scottish style annual assessment review and river status/rod exploitation measure approach based on five year average or mean attainment to CL target.

3.    New analytical and modelling techniques have been explored and developed for determining rod catch and run size estimates and the influence of principal factors that are presently contributing to inaccurate and uncertain River status “predictions or forecasts”.  Emeritus Professor Brian Revell has lead that work and NW & Welsh rod fisheries have received papers on regional and individual River analysis of rod catch and simulations of changes to rod effort, river flows & cyclical patterns of 1SW/MSW. Brian`s work history is listed on page 3. The study explores two rivers, the Severn & Welsh Dee that are the subject of separate dialogue taking place with the EA & NRW that I am directing on behalf of PAAS & CPWF. The study provides a refreshing examination and in depth reasoned academic interpretation of factors effecting changing rod catch and ultimately run estimates. Something that has been missing in recent Byelaw consultation exchanges.   The same analytical and modelling principles (given data source) could be applied to historic and predicted catch and run size estimates from threats and pressures that appear to fall below the radar as far as actually assessing stock impact.These might include rising ocean temperature, food source depletion, pelagic trawler impact, damage from aquaculture expansion and ingress from predation populations.

4.    A new proposed format of accessible on-line River reporting data. This is currently being circulated to rod fisheries groups for consideration and comment. We would like to bring this forward as part of improvements to provide transparent and informed stock assessment data which will enable fisheries managers and national advisers to better track changes to applied estimates and rod catch/spawning assessments and trends.

 A considerable amount of time has been spent in the last 12 -18 months in non productive exchanges as  rod fisheries representatives sought acknowledgement of the need for improvement to systems and accuracy of historic assessments. 

 We would welcome a more progressive period of engagement and collaboration on systems and policy development, where our recommendations and research can and should be complimenting proposed review process and within communicated timetables. I have recommended to the Angling Trust that a small rod fisheries group is formed to present and review proposals.

This communication is for information purposes, unless further clarification or confirmation of progress is appropriate.

With best regards,  Mike Ashwin
Chairman NWATFCC  North West Angling Trust Fisheries Consultative Council  

  • NOTE from the editor. If you would like a copy of the report please email 1highplains@gmail.com and I will send you a .pdf

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