What does WSTAA do for you?

The WSTAA has a long and distinguished history in Game fishing conservation. It fights issues such as threats from water quality reduction through acid rain, leaching from old lead mines and agricultural pollution. Never has Pollution been such a problem especially in the rural areas as it is at present. Our salmon, sewin and trout stocks are under threat from all directions. There is a need for decisive and articulate protection.

Metal Mines – Strategy for Wales

This publication , dated June 2002, has been produced by the Welsh Assembly government and the EA Wales after consultation with 27 other bodies which include Councils and Trusts. The EA holds records of 1,337 metal mine sites in Wales and 204 of these are known to be causing an impact on water courses. Of these 50 sites have been identified as causing pollution and many could be tackled within the Objective 1 time scale. Thirty eight of the impacting sites are in Ceredigion – 19 in the Rheidol catchment alone. Remedial work may not be straightforward as the work could affect other interests (stakeholders) as the sites may be of a historic value and/or have rare forms of minerals and lichens, some are in part SSSIs

The 50 sites have been further categorized into five groups to assist planning. By involving the various stakeholders a multiple socio-economic interest may be established which would hopefully attract Objective 1 or 2 funding.

Remedial work usually involves the re-routing or culverting of streams, the capping of spoil heaps to prevent water seepage and the blowing of toxic dust, stabilizing buildings and making the sites generally safe for visitors. Remedial work costs are very high. The recernt work at the small Cwmbrwyno mine (above Goginan) which involved the re-profiling and capping of spoil heaps cost £300,000. For comparison the Wheel Jane tin mine (Cornwall) remedial work cost £3.5M plus £1M annually for maintenance.

There are plans in North Ceredigion to form a ‘Miner’s Way’ linking clusters of mines and establishing information and study centres. One may question the need for preserving so many sites in a small area but if it brings Objective 1 money and improves water quality so be it.

Ceri Evans.

Atlantic Salmon Trust/Atlantic Salmon Federation 6th Salmon Symposium, Edinburgh July 2002 Summary of Proceedings

The 5th Symposium at Galway in Sept 1997 concluded that ‘something was happening to the salmon at sea’ that science did not understand. As Nathaniel Reed put it, ‘What the hell’s going on out there in the pond?’ The 6th Symposium at Edinburgh heard some of the most recent findings.

Smolts migrating the Norwegian fjords swim near the surface (1.5m) at night then dive to 2.5-3m to avoid cod – which are their main predators at this stage. Larger smolts are the more likely to be predated. Once at sea their speed doubles and they swim in the food- band currents, and have few predators. Temperature and salinity are crucial factors (8-11C salinity 26%)

There has been a dramatic increase in predation by gannet colonies in the north-west Atlantic from the early 1990’s with a shift in the pelagic food web. By 2001 their prey was 25% salmon smolts.

NB ( Grassholm gannet colony 20km off the Pembrokeshire coast is the world’s second largest > 28,535 pairs, 1987 – potential 75,600 birds during smolt-migration. Moved from Lundy late C16th)

The ASF has so far not succeeded in raising matching funding for the buy out of the North-East mixed-stock drift-nets interceptory fishery.

NB Drifts. Good news:140 nets reduced to 70 (Net Limitation Order)

Bad news: 70 nets are catching more than the 140 – 37,000 tons

1993 -18,000 sal 53.000s/t

2000 – 22,000 sal 54,000 s/t (av 3,400 sal / 33,000s/t)

Irish west-coast drifts: the Irish fished up to quota in 2002 AD: 237,000 ‘declared’ salmon (ie x2 for undeclared take = ?474,000) Very disappointing. Delphi fishery had only recorded 10 salmon to July 1st. ther is a perceived threat to salmon stocks in the light of new cod and haddock quotas: trawlers will concentrate on all other available species.

A by-catch of some 900,000 salmon smolts was calculated lost in the pelagic (mackerel) trawling industry every year. Guidelines to be proposed for setting nets 1- 1.5m lower.

Phil McGinnity’s research on R Burrishoole, Co Mayo investigated the inter-breeding of 9 genetic salmon groups, including ranched, hatchery and escapees from aquaculture with wild, discreet populations. His work reveals a temporary maintenance of genetic integrity in all hybridisation, then a decline which did not recover. These findings, when published, will lead to EA guidelines before the likely and imminent withdrawal of licences for hatchery-rearing of wild salmon. This was re-iterated at Westport salmon genetics conference in January 2003.

Lynn Hughes.