Exmoor – greater access for fish!
No the new minister for for Exports at the Department for International Trade is not heading for Exmoor. But a new fish bypass at Bridgetown Weir will allow prime salmon and trout to access ideal spawning habitats. The Weir is near Dulverton and considered a major obstacle to fish moving upstream to spawn.
Completion of this fish pass is the first of a series of Strategic Exe Weirs projects planned for the river. A fish pass had been built at Bridgetown Weir in the 1950’s but this proved ineffective. The new structure is a prefabricated Larinier fishway which has been slotted into the existing infrastructure to save on costs.
The fish pass includes a new fish screen which will direct smolts (fish under 2 years old) away from the historic mill stream. It should send them into the main river via a new smolt “chute” during the spring/summer run. This will hopefully reduce any delay and risks in their migration and improve their prospects of reaching the sea.
It took three years of partnership working to get the new structure organised. But now it is in place salmon and trout will be able to access the upper reaches of the Exe on Exmoor.
Alex Swan, the Environment Agency’s Exe Catchment Coordinator, believes this will increase population sustainability of native fish.