Fishing for support to clear migration…

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THE Borders is taking part in a European-wide fish migration day to highlight the need for clear access up rivers for migrating fish.

Next Saturday, May 14, the Tweed Foundation is holding an information afternoon at Philiphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre near Selkirk from 2pm.

The charity is one of the voluntary bodies and national and local governments of seven countries round the North Sea that make up the £5.5million, EU-funded Living North Sea partnership which campaigns for free migration for fish from the sea back up to their river sources. The fish migration day as part of that campaign.

The Tweed Foundation will demonstrate equipment being used to tag and track sea trout smolts down the river. There will be a presentation on the fish-counter that the foundation operates in the fish pass at the cauld on the Ettrick Water at Philiphaugh, with video clips of notable fish that have passed through, including a salmon estimated at 45lb.

Experts will show how the life history and migration pattern of salmon and sea trout can be read from their scales

Weather and water levels willing, there will be electric fishing to show what species are present and how the basic fisheries management tool works.

A spokesperson for the Tweed Foundation said sea trout are the focus of its work under the Living North Seas programme.

Tweed sea trout go down the east coast of England and along the Dutch coast to Waddensee where the north German and west Danish coasts meet, where the species from all over the North Sea mix

“The genetics work that is part of the Living North Seas programme will show how the Tweed’s fish relate to others [there],” said the spokesperson.

“Through the programme, contact has also been made for the first time with angling and fisheries bodies right along this route, with the aim of improving the understanding of this migration and identifying any risks and problems.

“One of the aims of the programme is to set up a management group for the sea trout of the North Sea which will continue after the programme itself comes to an end.”

Given free fish passage, the range salmon and sea trout could roam is unexpected, continued the spokesperson.

“While it is obvious how the North Sea connects the countries around its coast, the way that the rivers that run into it connect up more distant parts of Europe is less thought of, but this network is very extensive. That salmon used to swim up the Rhine to Switzerland from the North Sea is well known but that the Main, one of its tributaries, connects Nuremberg and Frankfurt to the North Sea is less apparent.”

The Living North Sea study is made up of 12 organisations from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England and The Tweed Foundation and it is administered by the Association of Rivers Trusts of England and Wales.