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Joint fisheries conservation NGO position statement on Eurasian beaver re-introduction into England and Wales - Joint press release issued by Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

Fighting to protect our iconic and threatened migratory fish

Freshwater migratory fish are among the most threatened animals on the planet. Globally they have declined by 76% between 1970 and 2016 a higher rate of decline than marine or terrestrial migratory species. Our salmon and sea trout are no different, with populations on most rivers in England and Wales classified as at risk by the UK governments. The pressures on the populations include barriers to migration, poor water quality, rising temperatures, habitat degradation and loss, over-abstraction and pressures at sea.

Beavers build dams using riparian trees and branches, and the dams can be multiple along lengths of rivers and in some cases over six feet high. These threaten to restrict the vital movement of adult salmon, sea trout and brown trout to and from their spawning grounds in small streams and tributaries, and their juveniles as they migrate downstream to sea.

Without a funded science-based management strategy, with a clear focus on mitigating impacts for salmon and trout, there is a real risk that beaver dams will cause harm to these vulnerable protected populations. Research on the licensed released beaver population in the River Otter, which is being used to inform the management strategy being developed by Defra, has focused on demonstrating the benefits of beavers. However, it did little to address the obvious threat of beaver dams to important migratory fish.

Therefore, fisheries conservations organisations – Atlantic Salmon Trust, Salmon & Trout Conservation, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, River Otter Fisheries Association, South West Rivers Association and the Angling Trust – have raised concerns to the UK and Welsh governments.

Read the full report (PDF)

UK Extinct Species rediscovered in the Outer Hebrides - Buglife

Buglife is delighted by the recent rediscovery of a species of caddisfly previously believed to be extinct across the UK. Once found in the fens of East Anglia, Limnephilus pati was presumed extinct in the UK in 2016 with no British records for over 100 years. Elsewhere, there are only 16 historical sites scattered across Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Poland.

In July last year, against all odds, a male was attracted to a light-trap being run by Robin Sutton on South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Photos of the specimen were sent for identification and the exciting result was the rediscovery of Limnephilus pati.

South Uist is rich in habitats for caddisflies, with numerous small lochans, clear, low nutrient streams, and extensive machair habitats. Over the years Robin has attracted 23 species of caddisfly to his light trap but by far the most exciting find is Limnephilus pati.

Scientific Publications

The 2020 BirdTrends report from BTO gives the first glimpse of proposed conservation listing, with amongst others, the upgrading of birds such as House Martin and Willow Warbler from amber to red listing and the downgrading of birds such as Song Thrush and Grey Wagtail from red to amber.

It also for the first time carries information for all species on conservation actions needed, if any, and conservation actions that have been used or are currently being taken.

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