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Boost for migrating salmon and trout in Dorset's River Frome

By mmanning  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

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DWINDLING stocks of migratory fish in the upper River Frome should benefit from a £500 Wessex Watermark Award.

The money will go towards the Final Furlong phase of the Frome, Piddle and West Dorset Fisheries Association's Enhancing the River Frome project.

The association's on-going management work along the river Frome has already improved access for migratory salmonids to the spawning beds of the upper Frome above Dorchester.

Zoe Pittaway, Wessex Water's catchment co-ordinator will meet members of the association when she presents them with the donation at the Freshwater Biological Association River Laboratory in East Stoke, Wareham on Wednesday.

In 2006 the association embarked on an ambitious project to give dwindling fish stocks access to the pristine spawning gravels of the upper Frome. This has been achieved by removing man-made barriers in the river, improving river bank erosion caused by cattle poaching, and installing the Louds Mill fish pass at Dorchester. The group has worked closely with the Westcountry Rivers Trust and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Association chairman Charles Dutton said: "So far we have seen an improvement by removing two major in-river barriers. We have two more major obstacles to remove and when that has been achieved it will open up 54.6km of pristine virgin spawning waters in the Frome's upper catchment.

"Survival of the young fish over their first winter to the smolt stage is nearly twice as good in the Upper Frome than in the Lower Frome meaning that more young salmon and sea-trout will make it out to sea. This grant will enable us to complete the barrier removal work we have been planning for some time."

The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its twentieth year, it has supported more than 900 environmental initiatives.

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