Last week we submitted a response to a planning application for the proposed (and some already completed) works to Catrine Weir and fish pass. We didn’t object as we see that some improvements will be made and we are supportive of the efforts. We did however express a few concerns over details of the plans and I’m sure they will be ironed out through appropriate consultation wherever possible.

Regarding the work to create a spillway in the pass and the installation of the eel pass, I visited today and posted have photos of the partially completed items below. The eel pass is about as straight as a fractured dog’s leg but I’m sure the eels wont mind.

The eel pass installed beside the fish pass.

The eel pass installed beside the fish pass.

I would have thought that the entrance to the eel pass would have been more structured than it is at present and may bring this up at the next opportunity. Judge for yourselves but to me it looks like a strip of loose Astroturf laid over rocks. I think it needs some further work. Perhaps this is planned.

The entrance to the eel pass. No water flow yet as the pass isn't complete at the top end. Surely this needs a bit more work if it is going to stand the test of time.

The entrance to the eel pass. No water flow yet as the pass isn’t complete at the top end. Surely this needs a bit more work if it is going to stand the test of time.

The spillway chamber from the fish pass to carry excess water to the lower chamber is virtually complete. spill-chamber

The pipe returning the water to the lower chamber is clearly visible in the photo and will definitely need some form of screening and flow deflection to prevent salmon and trout from trying to access it and to reduce turbulence. We haven’t been provided details of how this will finish and I’m very keen to see the plans at the earliest opportunity. No detail was provided in the planning application.

When water is flowing through this pipe, I expect some fish would be attracted to it rather than the fish pass unless it is screened to prevent access.

When water is flowing through this pipe, I expect some fish would be attracted to it rather than the fish pass unless it is screened to prevent access. In a big spate, the end of the pipe is likely to sit below the water level.

The smolt chamber on the other side of the river has had covers added so I couldn’t see in but again I’m keen to see the set up in there. Lets hope that the screens go in shortly so that we can start gathering baseline data before the weir is modified but the entrance detail has yet to be provided and approved. I suspect the opportunity for this year is fast slipping away.

All work appears to have ceased at the moment, presumably as CCT await the outcome of their planning application. The fish pass was blocked and I notified the bailiff co-ordinator who will no doubt let CCT know that they need to clear it. I am concerned that this pass should be checked daily to ensure fish passage is always maintained. We will keep you updated as and when we hear anything.

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2 Responses to Catrine Fish Pass update

  1. Ronnie bunting says:

    With such negative and unprofessional comments such as those above it is little wonder Catrine Community Trust would be reluctant to divulge details to the author.

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      Ronnie,
      these are observations that I don’t think are unjust or unwarranted. Perhaps it doesn’t matter that the eel pass isn’t straight (and this is a very minor point and was made rather ‘tounge in cheek’), but it would have looked better had it been straight as some of the Boards and ART’s suggestions were rejected previously on the grounds of aesthetics.
      Everything else mentioned in the report is fair comment.
      All of the work in the above post is included in the planning application that is lodged at present, so perhaps things are rather out of kilter? As stated, we hope that the plans go through without delay as we see benefit coming from the works. We have always been supportive of improvements and many of the items planned wouldn’t have been taken forwards by CCT unless we had been involved and pushed for appropriate measures to benefit fish migration to be included. It would have been appropriate that details of certain items had been discussed and agreed with all fisheries interests prior to their construction to remove the uncertainties that exist about these modifications. Both ART and the DSFB repeatedly requested details yet they have not been forthcoming. I think it’s wrong to blame me for their failings.
      Regarding the fish pass blockage, it was cleared quickly as should reasonably be expected as this is a legal requirement. Daily inspections seem appropriate. Should you have further comments, then don’t hesitate to contact me directly; you know where I am.