©Dart Fisheries Association. All rights reserved

The River Dart

The Dart Fisheries Association [DFA] represents riparian owners, including the Duchy of Cornwall and the Dart Angling Association, and other interested parties in the management of the River Dart above Totnes, liasing with the Dartmoor National Park authority on matters of mutual interest.

The principal objectives of the DFA are to conserve and develop the salmon and trout fisheries of the river and its tributaries, and to conserve the natural environment within the river's catchment.

In order to fulfil these objectives the River Dart Partnership has been established between the DFA, the Environment Agency and the Westcountry Rivers Trust. A memorandum of understanding between these organisations has been agreed in which clearly defined actions and responsibilities are stated. Working plans are formulated early each year with progress and review meetings at the end of each year.

Work undertaken includes walk-over surveys of the upper river system describing and recording different types of habitat, electro-fishing to establish juvenile populations of salmon and trout, improvement of spawning habitat by removal of invasive plants and gravel raking and appropriate trimming or pollarding of trees and bank side vegetation.

While mainly intended to benefit the fishery where stocks of salmon have seriously declined over the last 20 years or so, the work so far appears beneficial to the riverine environment.

Work is also being undertaken to ensure that the abstractions of water into the Devonport Leat and into Venford reservoir are not having a detrimental effect on the river.

Photo © WRT

Volunteers working to improve spawning gravel on a moorland tributary

Gravel ready for returning salmon or sea trout

Photo © WRT