Fish-pass plans for the Coquet

Northumberland Rivers Trust Director Pete Kerr, Matt Ridley and Coquet Riparian Association chairman Shaun Renwick at the  re-opening of the fish pass at Warkworth.'
Northumberland Rivers Trust Director Pete Kerr, Matt Ridley and Coquet Riparian Association chairman Shaun Renwick at the re-opening of the fish pass at Warkworth.'

A charity which aims to improve the county’s rivers is working on a scheme to install a fish pass along a section of the River Coquet.

The Northumberland Rivers Trust wants to carry out the project at the weir located on the stretch of water between Amble and Warkworth, which runs parallel to the A1068 Rotary Way.

The aim of the plan, which would cost a few thousand pounds, is to bolt timber to the weir to create shallow pools to help fish, such as salmon, move along the river.

Speaking at Amble Town Council earlier this month, the charity’s director Peter Kerr said: “Weirs slow the fish up and one of the ones which is a concern is the one between Amble and Warkworth, because at low tide, the fish get caught up there and are targets for such as seals.

“One of the things that we are keen to do is to put in some timbers that will help salmon and sea trout go past. The timbers create shallow pools and the fish then jump between the pools, which helps them along the river.”

Mr Kerr said that the charity has written to Northumberland County Council to ask if it needs planning permission for the project.

He added: “We are waiting to hear back from them, but we are hoping that the county council will just let us get on with it.

“It is quite a low-key project and is just a temporary measure and a stop-gap to any work that the Environment Agency may do there in the future.

“We would like to do this in August and September, but if we do need planning permission, this would push back the start date.”

He said that the work would be a quick job and would take place around the tides.

At the meeting, Amble’s deputy mayor Jane Dargue said ‘anything that will help our fish and wildlife is a good thing’, while Coun Helen Lewis added that she had no objections, provided the various agencies and bodies are happy with the scheme.

The charity has also spoken to Warkworth Parish Council about the work.

After the meeting, Mr Kerr told the Gazette that the charity is also looking to improve the fish pass at Acklington and is currently in discussions with Northumberland Estates about it.

He added: “We are very keen to improve the conditions for fish, such as salmon, in the River Coquet, and also the conditions of the river itself. A fish counter at Acklington counted that, in the month of June, there were 616 salmon going through, which is a good number of fish going upstream.”