Fishtek Consulting

Catch up with the latest news from the Fishtek team, including our latest projects, research and industry news.

News

17th October 2019

It's been a while since we last posted as we have been delivering most of our news via our twitter account. Please do follow us @FishtekConsult (https://twitter.com/FishtekConsult) to get regular updates on our projects.

Since the last news feed we have been very busy carrying out fishy work across the UK as well as expanding our international work into Africa and South Asia, with projects in Nepal and Liberia.  In Liberia we have been carrying out some exciting research to inform the construction of the world's first prawn pass. The African River prawn has been found to play an important role as an ecological control of Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) in human populations by feeding upon a vector species of snail. The construction of dams disrupts prawns natural migration and risks local extinction, which has been linked to an increase in snail populations and in turn bilharzia infection rates. The prawn fishery is also important for the local economy and as a source of protein.

Fishtek were recently in Liberia undertaking novel research to determine the swimming and climbing ability of prawn in order to inform the design of a specific prawn pass facility, the first in the world to the best of our knowledge. Below is an image of our test facility with prawn successfully climbing the roughened channel, as well as photos of the team comprising Fishtek staff and local fishers. The project was carried out working with Mrag and on behalf of MCAL (Millenium Challenge Account Liberia) and the results are now being used by Fishtek to design a full scale prawn pass at the site. We hope to be able to share photos of the built pass sometime in 2020.






17th July 2018

We have had confirmation today of some brilliant news - the Unlocking the Severn project has been granted the next stage of funding from LIFE and the HLF! Details can be found on the Severn Rivers Trust website HERE

This ambitious projects will build large fish passes at several weirs on the River Severn, as well as reduce the height of the lowest weir on the River Teme (a major tributary of the River Severn). In all, 158 miles of the river will be opened up to the passage of fish, providing a crucial opportunity for shad to return to the river above Worcester.

Fishtek have been working on the project with partners Arcadis for the Severn Rivers Trust and Canal and Rivers Trust for over three years. Specifically, we have been heavily involved in the design of the fish passes at the four main navigation weirs on the River Severn, as well as carrying out monitoring of shad numbers moving upstream at Upper Lode weir. We are very excited to see how the project now progresses and look forward to seeing shad (and other fish species) using the new fish passes.


22nd June 2018

When we were asked by Yorkshire Water to design a cost-effective fish easement to overcome 400 m of laid-stone channel with a 4 m head drop and difficult access on the Hebble Brook (a tributary of the River Calder) we were at first baffled (no pun intended!). However, our highly skilled team of fisheries biologists and civil engineers worked together to come up with a solution that not only significantly improved fish passage at the site, but did so for a modest budget and using sustainable materials. The solution is a form of low-cost baffle pass using green oak sleepers that were fixed to the laid-stone channel using simple anchor bolts. The wooden baffles were larger than standard low-cost baffles to ensure suitable depths and velocities for fish passage throughout the channel, thus acting more similar to pre-barrages.  Each section was within manual handling limits and as such all work was undertaken without the need for large machinery. We think the works are looking great and we hope to see fish using the fish pass soon!




 

5th June 2018

We are updating the News section of our website less and less, predominantly because most of our news now goes out through the Fishtek Consulting twitter feed (@FishtekConsult) but also because we have been very busy the last few months. We are currently involved in a lot of interesting projects, including projects in Nepal and Liberia, where we are providing advice on fish pass design.

Aerial view of the river in Nepal which we are working on
Depleted river reach in Liberia
Tilapia caught during fish sampling out in Libera

On 'home soil', we are designing numerous fish passes, including some very large Larinier passes in an exciting project on the River Wharfe and Swale, working with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and a similarly large fish pass on the River Don, working with the Don Catchment Rivers Trust. We are also busy designing and installing several large eel passes, including one that is over 40 m long on the River Trent! 

Those who check our news page regularly or who follow us on Twitter have probably picked up that we are still working on the very large Unlocking the Severn project, with Severn Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency. Most recently, this has involved us continuing our monitoring work at a large weir on the lower River Severn where we have been using several techniques to monitor the number of shad migrating up the river. Some fascinating sample footage shot from a drone of shad going over the weir is shown HERE.




5th January 2018

Firstly, a very Happy New Year from all of the Fishtek team! It has been a while since we last published a blog of our news and the current ongoings at Fishtek, largely because we increasingly rely on Twitter (@FishtekConsult) to keep anyone interested up to date with our latest news. Since our last news post, we have been busy with lots of ongoing projects and have also started work on some interesting new projects.

Although the hydropower industry in the UK is for the most part declining due to the changes in the goverment Feed In Tariffs (FITs) for hydropower, we have been commissioned by Innogy to work with their designers MWH provide fisheries advice for a high-head scheme that they are developing in northern Scotland. With a total scheme capacity of 4MW, this is larger than many of the hydropower projects in the UK. Fishtek are providing advice on how to mitigate the impacts of the proposed scheme, particularly in relation to fish migration (both upstream and downstream).

The view looking upstream from the site of a proposed new hydropower scheme in Scotland
Those of you following us on Twitter may also have noticed that we have been awarded the contract to carry out the design of some large fish passes on the Rivers Wharfe and Swale, working with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust. This is a great project to be involved in as mitigating these barriers will open up a large amount of habitat to fish within the river, including salmon and lamprey.

A large weir on the River Wharfe

We have also started work on a fish pass design on a small tributary of the River Tame. While the weir is not the biggest out there, it's sheer vertical morphology and shallow skim of water over the weir crest means that it is a very significant barrier for the fish resident in the river, particularly coarse fish (which, as any fisheries biologist will tell you, also migrate large distances even if it doesn't involve a journey to the sea).

Small weir on a tributary of the River Tame. Fish pass to come!

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