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PICTURES: Historical rowing raid begins

A rowing raid, involving St. Ayles rowing skiffs with teams from around Scotland and a group of schoolchildren from Bowness-on-Solway, has begun.

The group are re-enacting while learning more about a historical event, where residents of the Scottish town of Annan rowed over the Solway Firth to steal an English church bell.

READ MORE: Historical rowing raid re-enacted across the Solway Firth


WATCH: Caerlaverock at dawn

It's the culmination of an epic journey, from a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean to Dumfries and Galloway.

The entire barnacle geese population from Svalbard off the coast of Norway will winter on the Solway Firth.

After almost dying out in the 1940s, at its peak, more than 35,000 are set to arrive here this year.

Many have already made the journey.

Geese swoop on Solway Firth

The geese have returned. Credit: ITV Border

Tens of thousands of barnacle geese have begun arriving in the region for winter on the Solway Firth.

The birds have travelled from a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean. They draw in bird watchers from all over the UK.

It's definitely one of the best wildlife spectacles in the UK certainly through the winter, it's just incredible, the sight and sound of all of these geese, thousands and thousands of geese is just spectacular"

– Joe Bilous, Caerlaverock Wetland Centre


Fishermen could face further salmon restrictions

Credit: ITV Border

Fishermen on the Cumbrian side of the Solway Firth could face further restrictions on the number of salmon they can catch.

The Environment Agency is proposing new rules that would mean only three salmon a year can be kept, rather than the ten currently allowed.

It claims the changes are necessary because the fish population is dangerously low. Although the low numbers of salmon are not due to over-fishing but to the poor survival rate of salmon at sea, the agency believes cutting the number of fish caught will help the population recover.

But haaf netters say the move would threaten a method of fishing that is unique to the area and dates back to the Vikings.

Body found on Solway coast

A body has been found washed up on the beach at the Solway Firth village of Portling.

The body was found on the Colvend coast around eight o'clock this morning about five miles south of Dalbeattie, when a local man was out walking on the beach.

Police believe the body may have been in the water for a considerable length of time.

The person has not yet been identified.

"We are obviously checking missing persons on both sides of the Solway.

Tests and a full investigation are being carried out to try and identify the body."

– Police Scotland spokesperson

Future of Solway Firth discussed

The Solway Coasts Credit: ITV Border

Action is being taken to sort out the growing problem of invasive species that are threatening native wildlife in the Solway. A species of shelfish called the Pacific Oyster has been found in several locations. It is intensively farmed along the coast of Scotland and is thought to have escaped.

An area of the Solway Coast Credit: ITV Border

There is also damaging non-native plants including wireweed and cordgrass.New legislation has come into effect this year which gives authorities on both sides of the Solway the power to prosecute fishermen or anyone else who does not comply with strict bio-security rules.

At a conference held by The Solway Firth Partnership, bio-diversity expert Sarah Brown from the Firth of Cylde Forum said that climate change and invasive species were the two major threats to Scotland's native marine environment.

Fishermen Credit: ITV Border

On top of new legislation, the Solway's new Coastal Ranger Nic Coombey is asking landowners to look out for the Pacific Oyster and any examples will be noted and destroyed. The Pacific Oyster is larger than native varieties and the risk is that they could desimate local beds.

The confrence at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries also heard from the chairman of the Solway Firth Partnership, Gordan Mann. The partnership has responsibility for both the English and Scottish sides of the Solway.

Walker on the beach along the Solway Coast Credit: ITV Border

Mr Mann said the biggest challenge for businesses operating around the Solway was to co-ordinate and co-operate more in the future.

Planning law is different on both sides of the border so it is vital that organisations with an interest in the Solway maintain open communication, he added.

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