It is produced by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and applies to the monitoring of species on SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), ASSIs (Areas of Special Scientific Interest) and SACs (Special Areas of Conservation).

It is important in ensuring that monitoring of species and habitats are carried out consistently and to a high standard not only by different companies and organisations, but also across sites and at different times. This is critical in making data comparable between different sites and over time.

The guidance sets out what factors should be assessed for each of the 13 species covered by the guidance and gives scientists details on sampling methods, site selection, timing and frequency of survey, data processing, licensing, access and biosecurity.

Periodic updating of the guidance is led by experts at the UK’s regulatory agencies, with the help of scientists and practitioners from the UK and Europe.

  • Spined loach

APEM director, Dr Adrian Williams, is an expert in freshwater fish species and was asked to contribute to the guidance on monitoring spined loach. The sampling protocol he recommends is an updated version of the previously recommended method, which he helped developed in 2006 along with APEM’s managing director, Dr Keith Hendry.

Dr Williams said: “It’s an honour and a pleasure to be asked to contribute to this important guidance. I really like spined loach, they are very charismatic little fish

“For spined loach we recommend that monitoring should be carried out using hand-trawls rather than electro-fishing. The trawl used should be a small hand held epibenthic sledge pulled along the bed of the watercourse in a standard way.

“Hand-trawling is a relatively quick monitoring technique so we would expect a two-person team to be able to get through up to 50 or 60 in a day, which is great for coverage and statistical robustness.”

In addition, the guidance for spined loach also addresses spatial extent, age of the fish caught, population density, the number of young fish caught, licensing, access to sites and the physical habitat in which they live.

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Adrian Williams, director.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.