Distributed to Subscribing Volunteers, Members & Directors of the Environment Group
BASG Environment Group Meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 17th January 2019 7.00pm at Dragonfly House
J Currie (Chair), D Todd (Secretary), K Allen, S. Roberts, A Carpenter, P Doggett, N George (Gamekeeper HGB), E Winter (EA/NE), R Sanderson (EA), A Wood (EA), S Lane (EA), C Bielby (NE), T Sievers (NE), A Hindes (Fishtrack).
- Apologies For Absence.
S Shelton, M Symonds.
- Minutes Of Last Meeting.
The minutes of the meeting held on 11th October 2018 were agreed.
- Hoveton Great Broad Project
The rest of the meeting was given over to presentations and discussion on the Hoveton Great Broad (HGB) Restoration Project.
It was explained that there had been several recent saline incursions to the Broads, which significant impact. These can cause problems with recruitment in otherwise good spawning years and need to be considered as a further issue if HGB is closed to fish.
The proposal is that fish barriers are to be installed to prevent roach and bream from entering HGB to allow biomanipulation to take place. It is proposed that these barriers are to be installed in March 2020.
Four Presentations were given:-
- a) HGB BASG Env Group 17JAN19 – (Steve Lane and NE)
- b) BASG 17.01.19 – (Emily Winter Bournemouth University)
- c) HGB Jan19 (Andy Hindes)
- d) BASG presentation – (Chris Bielby)
After the presentations were given, extensive discussions took place.
It was clear from the BASG members and EA members present that there were serious concerns about closure of HGB to fish. It was clear that HGB is an important spawning area for Bream on the entire northern rivers sector of the Broads.
It was postulated that bream would spawn elsewhere but there is no data to support this and the success of this is also unknown. (ie will the spawn hatch and develop into adult fish)
There appeared to be little evidence based mitigation for this from Natural England.
It was felt that, at the very least, more data is required before the project progresses. This would enable a better risk assessment of the potential removal of an important spawning area.
The meeting felt that until this work was completed it is difficult to support the project as it could involve major risks to the fish population of the northern rivers.
AC suggested the use of artificial spawning substrate whilst broad is closed. There is an opportunity to trial material this spring in Hoveton to see if the bream will spawn on this compared to natural habitat.
NG suggested pushing the barrier to the back of the dam, therefore providing more off river habitat outside the broad. This could be filled with artificial spawning habitat if it proves successful post isolation.
KA suggested having an emergency plan for prymnesium outbreaks would help mitigate the risk of closing Hoveton to fish. The same could be true for saline risk management by pushing forward with the bubble curtain approach.
It was agreed for the project to report back to the BASG environment sub-group within 12 months, before the barriers are closed.