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Restored Habitat for Manx Salmon 9 April 2009

Restored Habitat for Manx SalmonManx salmon and sea trout returning to the Santon Burn will have several more miles of top quality river habitat to spawn in this winter.

Over the past 5 years, monitoring of the river carried out by the Department has recorded populations of juvenile salmon present downstream of the Fairy Bridge, however only brown trout have ever been recorded upstream.

A Farm Watercourse Survey carried out by the River Management Officer, Karen Galtress identified that a major contributory factor to the lack of salmon in the upper reaches of the river was the presence of a 200 year old stone weir, over 2 metres high, which severely limited the movement of fish upstream.

The Department has worked in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the landowners to implement the design and construction of a bypass channel in the disused mill race adjacent to the weir thus allowing salmon and sea trout access to the extensive stretches of high quality habitat upstream.

Work on the new bypass channel was carried out by the Works Division of DoT and has recently been completed. Mr D Quirk, MHK, member for Fisheries says

‘I am delighted that this joint initiative between the 2 Departments has been such a success, and that, salmon and sea trout will once again be able to access new spawning grounds in this small stream. This project is a wonderful demonstration of the positive impact relatively low cost, and low tech measures can have on safeguarding and enhancing our Natural Heritage. I would like to congratulate the DoT staff who constructed the pass on time, and under budget, and think that this a great example of successful inter-Departmental co-operation.’

The Department is now planning a programme of electric fishing surveys from the summer of 2009 onwards, to assess the success of this new fish pass, through the monitoring of juvenile fish populations.

Mr Quirk, MHK and Mr Graham Cregeen, MHK, member for Malew and Santon will be officially opening the new fish pass on Thursday 9th April, and there will be a photo opportunity for the press.

Meet at The Mill House at 2pm, wellies are essential.

Restored Habitat for Manx SalmonAtlantic Salmon parr
Pic 1, the completed bypass at Santon. This bypass will ensure that Salmon and Sea trout can return to spawn in several miles of pristine river upstream of the Santon weir (pic courtesy Chris Lally)Pic 2 Atlantic Salmon parr. These beautiful fish could soon be thriving in the upper reaches of the Santon Burn, prior to undertaking their migration to waters off Greenland, and, we hope, returning to the Santon Burn 1 -2 years later to spawn. – pic courtesy of Richard Hawkins

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