Upper Tamar rivers to benefit from fishery and habitat improvements

17 Feb 2021 01:28 PM

Three tributaries of the River Tamar in Devon are about to be improved thanks to a new partnership project supported by the Environment Agency.

Working alongside the Westcountry Rivers Trust and local angling associations, Environment Agency officers are helping to boost fish numbers on the Rivers Deer, Claw and Carey through a targeted programme of habitat and ecological improvements.

The project is part-funded with £38,000 from the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) which reinvests rod licence money into projects which benefit anglers and fish stocks. The FIP money has been matched by partners including local fishing associations.

Bruce Stockley at Westcountry Rivers Trust said:

Numbers of salmon and trout have dropped significantly on the Tamar over recent years.  By working in partnership with farmers and landowners we can make it a place where fish can thrive again.

Rob Price, Catchment Coordinator for the Environment Agency said:

This work is part of an integrated approach addressing a range of environmental pressures facing the Upper Tamar water bodies. We are working closely with our catchment and Defra partners.

We have held a number of mapping workshops and shared information and expertise to help the Westcountry Rivers Trust and angling associations target much needed habitat improvements and will remain on hand to provide advice to the lead partner.

Work on the project is due to start this month and will include tree planting, bank repairs to reduce erosion, sediment management and replenishing important fish spawning gravels.

Both the Claw and Carey were found to be in poor ecological condition following assessments carried out in 2019. The River Deer was classified as being in a moderate condition. All 3 water bodies were assessed as failing fish under the Water Framework Directive.

Rob Price said:

Planned enhancements over the next 3 years should have a positive influence both on ecological performance of these rivers and the number of anglers utilising them.