Pollution and climate change could spell end for angling in Fife river

A Fife angling club is aiming to restore the River Eden’s ecology and bring back local wildlife, lost due to the poor health of the river.

By Jamie Callaghan
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 9:05 am
The River Eden in Cupar.
The River Eden in Cupar.

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie held a meeting with SEPA and the Eden Angling Association to find a solution to the declining health of River Eden's ecology, including damaged caused to the riverbed by a previous pollution event and low summer water levels.

In 2018, a SEPA investigation found that a local pollution event in 2016 had caused significant and permanent damage to the Ranuculous weed riverbed, which is important to protect juvenile salmon and trout from predators.

In 2019, a trial was carried out by a wider partnership, including the angling association, SEPA and Scottish Water, to transplant the Ranuculous weed population but unfortunately it was unsuccessful.

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MSP Willie Rennie. Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie unveils his commitment card ahead of the first TV debate. Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie unveils his commitment card ahead of the first TV debate.

David Farmer, secretary of River Eden's Angling Association, said: "The central issue here remains to explore and find solutions to restore the Ranuculous weed to the riverbed and tackle the climate change driven low summer water conditions, and the wider impact on river ecology and habitat.

"In its present state, the River Eden is destined to become unsuitable for indicator species like Ranuculous weed and trout, and with them everything that depends on their continued health. Right down to the community benefits the river brings.

"We want to work with SEPA and Scottish Water and other stakeholder groups to find a solution that will restore the river's ecology and reinstate all of the local wildlife that has been lost due to the poor health of the river."

Mr Rennie added: "This really hits home the long-term damage that pollution and climate change can have on our local environment. It is not only a question of cutting pollution and carbon emissions at a national level. More and more we are being faced with situations like River Eden, where urgent steps must be taken to protect the local ecology.

"If a solution isn't found quickly to reverse the damage that has been caused, we could start to see an irreversible decline in native species of flora and fauna, or potentially they could even disappear entirely from the local area.”