Wider Issues


Wider Issues

The Association has positive relationships with a number of organisations.  There are also a number of issues that the Association has an active interest in, as they impact the Esk fishery as a whole. This page lists some of those organisations and explains some of the issues the Association considers important. 

The committee is always interested in members’ view on these issues and if anyone wishes to be actively involved with any of these issues or organisations, please also get in touch.

Organisations

YERT (Yorkshire Esk Rivers Trust)
YERT is our local rivers trust and shares many of our aims in terms of preserving the environment. They also work with us to facilitate our young anglers programme. 

The Association’s committee member, Chris Wright, is also a trustee.

Angling Trust/Fish Legal
 The Association is a member of these organisations as they:
• promote the interests of rod and line fisheries
• keep us informed of changes relevant to the Association
• provide the Association’s insurance and 
• give us access to legal advice if we need it
 More information is available on the Angling Trust's and Fish Legal's websites.  

• Wild Trout Trust
The WTT has worked with the Association, Glaisdale Angling Club and YERT to consider habitat questions in relation to the Esk.  Its work has included running habitat improvement workshops on Glaisdale Beck.  It has a fascinating website.  

Issues

Ruswarp Turbine
The Association cooperated with the construction of Esk Energy’s turbine which was installed at Ruswarp Weir in 2011, where the Esk becomes tidal. It became operational in 2012. Various assurances were given at that time the decision to go ahead was reached, but we do not feel that all of them have been met. The assurances included:

1. a new fish pass, to be installed near the turbine outflow to minimise confusion amongst fish about where the main migration route is (the new pass is roughly 60% efficient, the original was 100% efficient)
2. a fish counter within that pass (this never happened and EA now assert that they are not committed to implement it)
3. assurances that the revised configuration of new pass and turbine would not have a negative impact on fish migration (which include eels and sea lamprey, not just salmon and sea trout) – as above, we doubt this has been achieved and
4. sponsorship by the Environment Agency of a 5 year research project by the Hull International Fisheries Institute ("HIFI"), which was published in 2016.

The final HIFI report contains a huge amount of information. The Association lobbied with YERT in relation to an earlier draft.  The Association is of the view that the current situation is worse than the previous arrangement and plans to continue to pressure the EA to implement improvements to the pass.  

As the Association also owns the bed of the river upstream and downstream of the weir (but not the weir itself) we have some practical power. The Wild Trout Trust has provided this report in relation to dredging work that Esk Energy wished to do below the turbine outflow; we believe that the plan will have a negative effect on fish passage and have therefore not agreed to the work.  We do not intend to be obstructive, but we do intend to protect the fishery and the valuable habitat provided by the island beneath the weir.

In the absence of a fish counter we are left to monitor fish returns and juvenile monitoring results to identify any long terms adverse impacts.

Poaching
Until 2015 the Association had its own river keeper, whose job included prevention of poaching. The Association remains committed to fighting poaching and was originally sold the rights we hold at Ruswarp precisely because we were committed to preventing poaching.

Without a river keeper we are finding new ways of fighting poaching and are looking for volunteers who might wish to join the Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service

We will continue to cooperate with YERT, the other land owners, the EA and the police to minimise all forms of poaching.

• Tideway ban
This ban prevents ALL fishing from the County Road Bridge at Ruswarp down to Whitby Harbour. We believe it is a good thing as there were problems with people snatching salmon and sea trout in this area.  

• Net limitation order
This order limits the number of nets deployed off our coast, the dates they can fish and the catches they can make. The order is due for renegotiation in 2017. Coastal fisheries are a big issue for salmon and sea trout. In 2013, the EA reported the following catches:
Area/catch method

North East rod 
England and Wales rod
North East nets
England and Wales nets
Salmon caught

6,469
14,920
16,643
18,143
Sea trout caught

3,751
29,427
40,194
43,377
On this evidence, the rods in the North East are catching a quarter of the salmon, and less than a tenth of the sea trout caught in the region - and the rods return many of the fish they catch. Over a third of the salmon netted in England and Wales are netted in our region; for sea trout the figure is over 90% (whereas rod fishermen in our area catch only 10% of the UK catch).  

There is much widely available information on the impact of indiscriminate netting, if you have the time to look.  For those reasons, and also because we think that a disproportionate amount of England and Wales' net catch of salmon and sea trout is taken in our region, we intend to work with YERT to reduce netting generally and in our region in particular.

• Stocking 
The river has been stocked with salmon ever since 1867.  Ova and stocks have come from the Tees, Tay, Beauly, Thurso, Conon and Norway over the years.  Stocking has continued until 2015 when it was interrupted so the EA could get a base population for Water Framework Directive purposes in 2017.  We believe that stocking is required to maintain a healthy population in light of the silting of redds and problems at sea.

• Danby Weir
We believe this weir is a substantial problem for the Esk river system as, in all but the most favourable conditions, it prevents fish passage upstream.  Many potential spawning areas for salmon and sea trout are therefore wasted.  This WTT report illustrates the point - see the final section.  We intend to work with YERT and EA to arrange improved fish passage.

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