In many catchments, there are often specialist groups with very particular and focused interests in the freshwater environment who can be very valuable contributors to the development of a catchment plan.
These can include groups with interests in fisheries..
In 2015, the Tamar Catchment Partnership, enabled by WaterLIFE funding, became one of 10 initial “Catchment Fisheries Planning” (CFP) pilots being undertaken under the Catchment Based Approach. This approach, which has now been rolled-out more widely as the ‘Your Fisheries’ programme, saw fisheries specialists from 4 pilot areas work with the Rivers Trust, Angling Trust, and Atlantic Salmon Trust to develop the concept of Catchment Fisheries Action Plans.
The first action of the Tamar CFP pilot was to call together local fisheries representatives and discuss how this could be developed going forward. There was an awareness that national programmes and plans will come and go and therefore the Tamar should create its own ‘bottom up’ local stakeholder forum to discuss the issues raised - including the health of fisheries and the issues these face - and to explore what might be done to improve them.
The Tamar Fisheries Forum was hence created and has become the vehicle which has
• discussed actions and priorities for the catchment,
• called on guest speakers to obtain additional information on key topics, and
• agreed fisheries action plans.
The actions contained with the Action Plan have been prioritised using a red-amber-green system based on the current status of the various fisheries in the catchment. The Forum meets two or three times a year as well as using a mailing list to ensure the sustained involvement of stakeholders.