The Ness & Beauly Fisheries Trust (NBFT) is an environmental charity established in 2006 to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of both the Rivers Beauly and Ness and the native fish stocks within their catchments.
Management of the Trust is undertaken by a board of directors. Meetings of the management board are chaired by Neil Cameron and other directors include Frank Spencer Nairn, Jock Miller, Michael Martin, Graham Mackenzie, Don Mackay, Murray Stark and James Braithwaite. There are currently two full-time members of staff, a part time director, with seasonal staff employed if required.
The core activities of the Ness & Beauly Fisheries Trust include the collection of data on fish stocks within the area. The gathering of this data facilitates the provision of informed advice to the district salmon fishery boards and other agencies within the Ness & Beauly catchments. Additionally, habitat data is collected to identify, for example, barriers to fish migration to would benefit from remedial action.
Collaborative research into key issues such as salmon genetics and the causes of the decline in sea trout abundance is ongoing. A growing activity of the trust is the provision of education and outreach services. Consultancy services are also provided by Ness & Beauly Fisheries Trust and numerous reports, surveys etc have been commissioned by various projects, individuals, companies etc including European funded projects such as SAFER.
Further details on the work carried out by the NBFT can be found on their website.
Trust Director – Chris Conroy BSc (Hons) MSc MIFM
Chris joined the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust as part-time Director in May 2014. He has over 17 years of experience working as an aquatic resource manager, specialising in fisheries science, management and enforcement. Chris gained an Applied Biology degree at Liverpool John Moore’s University, during which he spent a year working in the Environment Agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory. He went on to secure a role within the Agency’s Thames Tideway team in London, before returning to university and completing a Master’s degree in Aquatic Resource Management at King’s College, London. Later he worked as the Fisheries Technical Specialist and Biodiversity Team Leader in Kent area of the Environment Agency. Following a period as a Principal Environmental Consultant for Capita Symonds then Cascade Consulting, in 2009 he was appointed as Superintendent and Biologist for the River Naver Fisheries, Sutherland. Chris was appointed as the Director of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board in August 2013 and continues in this role in parallel to his work for the Trust.
Senior Fisheries Biologist – Nick Barker BSc (Hons)
Nick joined the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust in 2008. As the Senior Fisheries Biologist he is responsible for the development and delivery of a range of fisheries research, education and monitoring programmes. He has degrees from the University of St. Andrews and Sparsholt College, at the latter writing a dissertation on invertebrate parasites. Nick leads the delivery of our core monitoring programmes, in particular the annual electrofishing surveys. He has also collated much of the data gathered by the Trust since its inception and has expanded the ‘salmon in the classroom’ educational programme to include a large number of local schools. Nick has full Scottish Fisheries Co-ordination Centre (SFCC) accreditation in electro-fishing and habitat surveying and is a instructor for the SFCC. He is also an experienced freshwater pearl mussel surveyor.
Fisheries Biologist – Chris Daphne
Chris took up the position of Fisheries Biologist with the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust in May 2014. Prior to this he worked as the ‘Perils in Peril’ River Watcher based in our office. He has over 15 years experience in fisheries management and has worked for the River Conon District Salmon Fishery Board as a Water Bailiff and with the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust as an Assistant Biologist. During this time Chris has gained SFCC accreditations in electro-fishing, habitat surveys and has completed the Sniffer barrier assessment course. He holds both the IFM certificate and diploma along with a HNC in Fish Production Management. His primary role is assisting the Senior Biologist in the development and delivery of fisheries research, education and monitoring programmes. Chris also has a particular interest and specialism in eel monitoring and research.
Pearls in Peril River Watcher – Natalie Young
Natalie joined the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust in July 2013. Prior to this she worked with the Conon Fishery Board/Trust and has taken over from Chris Daphne’s previous role as ‘Perils in Pearl’ River Watcher. The River Watcher is employed by the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland(RAFTS) and managed on a day-to-day basis by the Ness and Beauly Fisheries Trust. The primary role of this post is to combat illegal activities concerning pearl mussels.