At the LDAC AGM Richard Grieve gave an update on the great progress at Colliford Salmon Hatchery.
He gave an interesting discussion on the hatchery operations and water flow issues.
Richard reported that this was the start of the third year of operation of the relocated Colliford Hatchery.
It is widely recognised that the prior concerns over water quality had not materialised.
Richard thanked his volunteer staff for all their efforts, especially those that were from local communities, not the more typical angling population. He noted the key LDAC/FRA support for the hatchery.
Richard then discussed in detail the issues over water levels and their possible effects on salmonid migration in the Fowey. Whilst the SWW releases of summer water for abstraction at Restormel provided artificially high flows in the mid-river this did nothing in the lower estuarine reaches as it was all being abstracted at Restormel.
Richard’s concern was that the abstraction of water at Restormel was seriously impacting the ability of fish to by pass the weir at Restormel. Water should be left to run out to the estuary below Lostwithiel, especially that associated with water bank releases.
Richard has requested the FRA review the water-bank at Colliford and that it be more fully utilised to encourage migrating fish from estuary to upper river and that the FRA/WRT could focus on this issue with SWW and the EA.
Finally Richard noted that brood stock collection in late 2018 had been fair but with the majority of hen fish being small grilse. Late stripping of one fish had resulted in helpful EA agreement not to insist on factorial mating to complete the operation.
In support of hatcheries Rob Williams presented an analysis of Fowey counter figures that clearly showed that, in the period before the Wainsford hatchery was first in operation, the 9 year average was 696 fish whilst the 10 year average during operations (including the 3 year smolt/first migration period) showed that this average had risen to 902 fish (a 23% increase). Whilst some might discount such data, at worst it showed that Wainsford hatchery had no detrimental effect on Fowey stocks and at best it improved them substantially.
The LDAC Chairman noted that fin clipping of 25% of the Fowey fry was undertaken and urged members to look out for such fish and to report them if caught – thereby proving the success of the hatchery.