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Weather blamed for 50% drop in salmon fishing

Salmon on the River Tweed Credit: PA

A report into salmon fishing on the river Tweed has confirmed a drop of 50% in fish catches.

It's thought last year's dry summer was the main factor in the dramtic decline in the amount of salmon caught on the Borders' river.

Figures released this month in the River Tweed Commissioner's annual report show the total number of salmon caught by rod and net in 2014 was just under 10,000.

The report highlighted a multi-agency partnership to tackle the issue of poaching near the mouth of the river at Berwick-upon-Tweed was starting to pay dividends with 22 illegal nets seized and six successful court prosecutions.

It added the river still had a lot to be positive about and thanks to it being properly protected, monitored and understood it could provide a "platform to bounce back from a period of relative famine".


Two teens rescued from River Tweed

Two teenage girls have been treated for hypothermia after being rescued from the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders.

The 14-year-olds were swimming in the water near Galashiels when they got into difficulties.

Both girls managed to make their way to the riverbank but found themselves trapped on the banking.

Emergency services were called to the scene and the girls were taken to Borders General Hospital where they were treated for mild hypothermia.

Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have both issued warnings about the dangers of playing in and around water.

Tweed salmon catches up 40%

Figures show that salmon catches in the River Tweed are up 40% on the previous year.

A report by the River Tweed Commission shows that a total of 20,316 salmon were reported caught last year, up from 14,566 in 2012.

Chairman Dougas Dobbie put the increase down to a late run of exceptional catches, due to the autumn rainfall.

The Tweed Commission will go through the report at their AGM at the Cross Keys in Kelso at 9.30am this morning (3rd March).

The meeting is open to the public for the first time.

Border angler wins prestigious trophy

Shamus Jennings has won the Savills Malloch Trophy Credit: ITV News Border

A fisherman that landed a 50lb salmon in the River Tweed has been given a prestigious award for his catch.

Shamus Jennings, who owns part of the Boleside beat in Galashiels, has been announced as the winner of the Savills Malloch Trophy.

The award is given for the largest salmon caught on the fly and safely returned to Scottish waters.

Shamus caught the salmon, which weighs the same as an average 8 year old child, in October.

Full Report: Hydro power on the River Tweed

The River Tweed is being used to harness electricity for the first time.

A new hydro-electric power station near Selkirk will produce enough energy to power more than 200 homes.

The 1.3 million pound project consists of two giant turbines installed in the Ettrick Water.

However, as Jenny Longden reports, wildlife is being given top priority.


Wildlife protected at Hydro Electric site

The estate behind the first Hydro Electric Power Station in the Scottish Borders say that protecting wildlife is their number one priority.

Electricity is now being produced at Murray's Cauld near Selkirk.

Two giant turbines have been installed at the popular salmon-viewing spot on the River Tweed.

A spokesperson for Philiphaugh Estate said:

"To ensure the free passage of wildlife, we have worked closely with Scottish Natural Heritage and SEPA throughout the project.

"A new Larinier state of the art Salmon pass and a combined Eel, Lamprey and Smolt chute have been installed beside the turbines so that fish, eels, lampreys and smoults can ascend and descend the cauld. Screens prevent otters and larger fish from entering the turbines.

"In addition, we closely monitor the river level to ensure that the salmon pass and mill lade get a constant flow of water.

"Two electronic sensors have been placed in the river above and below the Cauld to measure water flow and height.

"These sensors can close off the turbines when water is low or if an obstruction to the flow occurs.

"Our first priority is to ensure that water can run down the fish passes, the second is to ensure that water descends the mill lade to protect this sensitive environment."

Europe's oldest iron-chain suspension bridge could close

There are doubts over the future of Europe's oldest surviving iron-chain suspension bridge, the Union Chain Bridge.

The bridge, which spans almost 130 metres over the River Tweed is in need of repair, and both the Scottish Borders and Northumberland Councils are considering shutting the bridge for good, if funding cannot be found.

An estimated £4.7million is needed to repair the damage to the bridge, which was built in 1820, with the intention of strengthening ties between Scotland and England.

"Northumberland County Council is the lead authority for the Union Chain Bridge. However we have a joint responsibility, and are working together to develop options to allow the refurbishment of the bridge to take place.

"The bridge will require a new chain suspension hanger system to be developed and fitted; substantial deck replacement; upgrading of the existing parapets; and totally repainted. The estimated cost of the repairs is £4.7million.

"If the councils were unable to raise the required funding it is likely that a phased closure would be implemented."

– Spokesperson, Scottish Borders Council

Salmon poaching crackdown in Borders

A fresh crackdown on salmon poaching is being launched in the Scottish Borders.

Lothian and Borders Police, the Scottish Borders Council, Crimestoppers and the River Tweed Commission have joined forces to reduce poaching in the River Tweed.

Salmon fishing is a major attraction for tourists visiting the Scottish Borders and brings in a wealth of visitors to the region.

There is concern that criminal gangs who are often responsible for salmon poaching are damaging the local economy.

"The Commission's Water Bailiff team look forward to working closely with the police in this initiative. Salmon poaching is a criminal act, which seriously damages breeding stocks of fish.

"River netsmen and anglers all agree not to kill early running stocks of Salmon in accordance with the Tweed Spring Salmon Conservation rules.

"The reason for the rules is that there are only just enough fish returning from the sea to sustain the breeding population.

"Killing any Spring Salmon reduces that breeding stock and will not be tolerated."

– Nick Yonge, The River Tweed Commission
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