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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Tees Barrage Report Confirms Anglers' Fears

    From the Angling Trust:

    The results of the second year's study tracking salmon and sea trout migration through the Tees Barrage has confirmed anglers' long-held belief that the barrage is a major factor hindering the recovery of migratory fish stocks in the River Tees, which are lagging far behind those in the neighbouring Rivers Tyne and Wear.

    Of 72 fish electronically-tagged in the estuary, not a single one successfully negotiated the barrage to migrate up river to spawn. Up to 76% were killed by seals, which lie in wait at the foot of the small fish pass and pick off fish as they prepare to swim up the concrete channel. The remainder either disappeared back out to sea or were untraceable.

    The survey has been carried out for the last two years by CEFAS on behalf of British Waterways after previous surveys over the last decade failed to reach clear conclusions. As long ago as 2006, the Anglers' Conservation Association (now renamed Fish Legal and part of the Angling Trust) organised a petition, signed by more than 1,000 anglers, for action to deal with the problem. The ACA had to use the threat of a judicial review to force British Waterways and the Environment Agency to take action.

    The report also notes that low dissolved oxygen and high ammonia levels in the estuary are often at levels deemed unsafe for aquatic organisms, further reducing the fishes' ability to evade predators and complete the assault course presented by the barrage.

    At a recent meeting with the Angling Trust, British Waterways confirmed that a major redevelopment of the barrage was now underway with a view to improving fish passage. This will involve:

    • substantially increasing the flow in the existing canoe slalom channel and possibly allowing it to flow overnight
    • installing four Archimedes screw hydropower generators to provide the power to pump water back up the barrage to maintain water levels
    • creation of two additional fish passes to increase the options available to salmon and sea trout

    Whilst the Angling Trust cautiously welcomes the fact that action is at last being taken to address the problem, and that British Waterways has committed to a further year's tagging study when the works are complete, it remains concerned about a number of issues.

    • No specific consultation of angling clubs and riparian owners upstream of the barrage has taken place during development of the plans, despite previous assurances that they would be kept informed and involved in the process. There was a broader consultation, but this fails to recognise the significant property and amenity interests of angling clubs and riparian owners upstream
    • No environmental impact assessment has been carried out for the development to identify the potential effect of the works
    • The Environment Agency's National Fish Passage Group has not formally approved the plans for the fish passes or the Archimedes screw designs
    • Detailed abstraction & impoundment applications for the Archimedes screws do not appear to have been submitted
    • Gate one of the barrage, which is adjacent to the existing fish pass, remains closed for operational reasons, thereby removing the attraction flow to this fish pass. We believe that this may be in contravention of the protocol under the Tees Barrage Act
    • No action to address the pollution in the estuary is planned by the Environment Agency

    After visiting the site and reviewing the plans for the new canoe slalom and fish passage arrangements, Mark Owen, the Angling Trust's Environmental Campaigns Manager said: "Whilst it is great to see some action being taken after so many years, we are extremely concerned about the apparently haphazard approach to implementing very complex engineering works involving migratory fish. Detailed studies into the potential effect on fish do not appear to have been done and many of the permissions one would expect to see for a project of this size are apparently not in place. We desperately hope that the project will finally restore fish passage in the estuary of the Tees, but we fear that the works could potentially cause damage to smolts (juvenile salmon and sea trout) migrating out to sea."

    Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: "I have been involved in discussions with BW and the EA for 5 years about this issue and we are very frustrated at the continuing lack of involvement of angling clubs and fishery owners upstream in the process. Our members collectively own and lease fishing rights on many miles of the river which are directly affected by the operation of the barrage. They have a right to - and were promised that they would - be involved in decisions which directly and materially affect their fishing and their property rights. It is the equivalent of BW carrying out a major construction project in a private back garden without asking the homeowner's views."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Here is the woefully inadequate, very narrow, fish pass is on the right hand side of the brick peninsula / walk-way front left.

    (From Google Maps).


    1. How could this have been allowed in the first place?
    2. How could it take so long for the obvious problems to be acknowledged!
    3. How long will it be before it is fixed?

    Someone, or some team should be ashamed of themsleves!


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