Serious pollution of the River Dee
On several occasions last week (May 9 and 10) heavily silted liquid poured into the Dee, which is a Special Area of Conservation for Atlantic salmon, turning the normally clear water a dirty brown colour.
Rachel Mulrenan, Director of WildFish Scotland, said: “It is inexcusable that SEPA, the agency responsible, has failed so dismally to prevent the dumping of very substantial quantities of sediment into the River Dee, one of Scotland’s most important salmon rivers.
"After a similar episode associated with the construction site in Inchmarlo in March, SEPA made several site visits but clearly it has failed to ensure that adequate measures were in place to stop a re-occurrence.”
The ingress of silt into a river can have numerous adverse impacts. It can cause stress to and affect the gills of migrating salmon smolts, it can clog up the riverbed, smother (often fatally) invertebrates and it can fundamentally alter the natural integrity of localised ecosystems.
Rachel added: “The Scottish Government acknowledges that our wild salmon are in crisis. Many of the causes, particularly those associated with the marine environment, require international action.
"However, we have the immediate power to tackle in-river problems and, when they happen, it is critical that regulators act swiftly and decisively to do so. It does appear that in this instance SEPA has been asleep on the job.”
William Foster, manager of the Park Fishery on the Dee (where the pollution has occurred), said: “This is appalling.
"The management and governing bodies, especially SEPA, who are responsible for the River Dee’s salmon population need to act with more urgency when pollution like this is occurring.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said: “On Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 May, SEPA received reports from members of the public of pollution in the River Dee at Banchory.
"While our investigation into this incident is ongoing, SEPA is continuing to engage with the developer on surface water management on site. Actions required by SEPA earlier this year have been completed and we are also in discussions on whether any offsite remedial works are required.
“We continue to urge anyone who spots signs of pollution to report this to SEPA by calling 0800 80 70 60 or using our online form at www.sepa.org.uk/report.”