Minutes of Nene, Welland and Witham Forum held 20th Jan 2018.
Present David Hawley, Kelvin Allen, Seumas Halliday, Ivor Stokes, John Newman, Viktor Tzikas, , John Wadham, Simon Bonney, Barry Harbott, Andy Jackson, Mark Fox & Steve Cuttler
Apologies, Ray Richardson, Ray Torrington, Howard Neal, Andy Beal, Mick Dimmock, Hugh Bunker
Several members gave their apologies as they were attending a two day IFM fisheries workshop in Peterborough.
David welcomed Mark and Steve from the recently formed Nene Anglers, a collaboration between Blackhorse and Warmington Angling Clubs.
Minutes of Octobers meeting
The previous minutes were accepted as accurate and there were the following matters arising:
Tree work is still subject to an ongoing dialogue.There appears to be another issue with trees within the Nene Park Trust Estate at Back Dyke. Ongoing awaiting next meeting with NPT.
Kelvin had discussed the cormorant survey internally within the Trust and there appears no conflict of interest or duplication.
Stibbington works have been resolved financially.
Regional Forum Update
Kelvin gave an update on recent activities both at national and regional level which covered the following areas:
Angling Improvement Fund
The 2nd round of funding for 2017/18 is currently open until the end of the month, with £400,000 of rod licence funds available.
EA Environment Permits
The EA has a consultation open on its proposed changes to issuing environment permits. The angling trust is asking clubs and consultatives to respond to this consultation as the proposed charges seem excessive. See link below.
Kelvin highlighted the recent reports on neonicotiniods found in our rivers, some in east Anglia being the worst in the country.
Kelvin reported that the ongoing efforts to resolve the annual water quality and low Dissolved Oxygen levels seemingly has little support within the wider environmental communities. Indeed this highlights what little protection there is for native coarse fish. With no solution to the problem the EA will continue to spend many £k annually on fish rescue operations.
Kelvin reported that the equivalent consultative looking after the Broads, has dissolved and been recreated as a new incorporated Community Interest Company BASG CIC. This will enable it to not only be a consultative, but more structurally act to bring more funding and deliver projects to support what is England’s largest inland fishery.
The awarding of phase II of the scheme from the Heritage Lottery is now complete. Kelvin is actively progressing the program on Club Engagement which will start in December and be followed with an Education Program in Polish Saturday Schools from April 2018. Andy Beal has been recruited as a part time project officer working for the Angling Trust to deliver this.
Kelvin wondered whether the consultative should support a Nene focussed Barbel management plan, supporting the resilent rivers theme within Nenescape. This is looking to enhance and restore up to 13 Nene backwaters, which currently are supporting a productive Barbel fishery in a number of locations. AJ suggested that the restoration of backwater fisheries should not just be about Barbel. Action it was agreed to have further discussion on this in the future.
EA Management Meeting Feedback
David reported his recent meeting which Kelvin, James Roche attended with Manfi Tang and his team. The following items were discussed.
Winter water retention levels
Tree Management on the Witham
EA communications and use of social media
Fisheries Resource and tracking
Drought Potential for 2018/19
Angling Development Opportunities
David reported his recent dialogue with Jake Devoile on the progression of the area licence. This hasn’t progressed as needed as many fisheries seem to have backed away from the concept. John Newman updated the group on the cormorant situation at Ferry Meadows and his ongoing discussions with the Nene Regional Park.
A number of actions were agreed.
Action DH to speak to Howard Neal re. the current views of affected fisheries.
Action Members of the consultative to encourage club members to report cormorant sightings to the Angling Trust website.
Action John Wadham to ask Anglian Water about the Cormorant data they collect.
EA FBG Presentation
James presented the comprehensive report provided by Hugh including rod licence enforcement data. It was noted that fishery survey reports for 2017 were currently being prepared and it was suggested that an overview should be presented at the next meeting. Action Hugh.
FBG Report Here.
John Wadham presented his report on Rutland Water. Although rainbow trout fishing had been badly affected by a gill parasite the brown trout were thriving.
Seumas gave an update on things happening at the other Stillwater fisheries including angling participation events and the welcome replenishment of the water tables, following recent rainfall.
Simon Bonney reported on the multitude of initiatives occurring at the catchment scale on the Nene and Welland. The Lamport Estate, comprising some 2000 acres, had decided to support a range of initiatives that would benefit the aquatic environment. Simon suggested that we should invite Geoff Gilfinnan, the Welland Project Officer, to the Consultative. Action DH/SB
The changes being proposed by DEFRA for grant funding to become a 3 year cycle were welcomed. This year there will be a new Water Environment Grant to enable organisations to bid for money to deliver suitable projects. Simon offered to help organisations prepare suitable bids which need to be worked up soon as bids can be submitted from March. It was noted that the EA is not able to submit bids so the onus is very much on other bodies to engage with the process.
Simon also asked for some comments/ideas on the national strategic monitoring review in which the river Welland is one of 3 pilot areas. David and Kelvin agreed to respond to this consultation by 26th Jan. Action DH/KA. Members should submit any suggestions to them ahead of this date. Think ouside of the box. Action All
The next forum is planned for Grantham 2nd May 2018. It was intended that Anglian Water would present their Pollution Watch initiative.
WDNAC – Ivor reported on the additional 400 members they have recruited following an increased publicity drive for the club, now some 2000 strong. They have recently completed the installation of 1 mile of otter proof fencing on their waters.
Mid Northants Fly Fishers – Seumas highlighted that more coaches are coming through and this supported their plans for monthly coaching sessions and supporting the vibrant number of country shows in his patch.
Nene Anglers – Steve gave an overview of his club which was only formed last year.
Kelvin to arrange a visit by Andy Beal.
Willow Brook Fly Fishers – Barry spoke about his club’s habitat and cattle poaching improvement work.
Dates of Next Meetings
7th April 2018.
9th June 2018
27th Oct 2018