Atlantic Salmon Trust Tracking Projects

The Atlantic Salmon Trust’s ambitious tracking work continues across Scotland.

To catch up on the herculean effort from last years’ activity, watch the latest documentaries for the Moray Firth Tracking and West Coast Tracking Project.

Moray Firth Tracking Project

Over the last two years of the Moray Firth Tracking Project, the Trust has been able to identify that smolts are more commonly going missing in standing bodies of water. To support our smolts and help increase their survival during their early migration, we must explore this further to fully understand why this is happening, and the risks that they are facing…  

The third and final year will focus more closely within specific areas: the River Spey, the Oykel, Deveron, the Ness and two Highland lochs. The Trust will be focusing on predator behaviour in these areas and in addition to analysing environmental DNA (eDNA) samples from scat (droppings) from bird and mammalian predators, such as cormorants and otter, the AST will also be monitoring the behaviour of brown trout and pike, in the highland lochs, using acoustic telemetry in order to analyse their interactions with smolts before, during and after the smolt run has taken place. Combining this information with the tagged smolts using the same environment, the Trust aims to gain a better understanding of the conditions under which predation takes place and when our precious smolts are most at risk so we can take action to better protect them.

West Coast Tracking Project

The initial findings from year one of this project are suggesting migratory patterns and preferences, including how individual salmon smolts move through sea lochs and their speed of travel. The Trust recently shared a short animation, explaining what they have learned from the project so far.

For year two of this vital work, the Trust will return to the project rivers on the West Coast and will be looking closer to shore to gain a better understanding of the first few days that our smolts spend at sea. This involves analysing their speed and timings of how they move through sea lochs, in much greater detail, and their routes across coastal zones with marine developments, such as aquaculture and offshore renewables. 

The West Coast Tracking Project is delivered in partnership between the Atlantic Salmon Trust, Fisheries Management Scotland and Marine Scotland. 

One response to “Atlantic Salmon Trust Tracking Projects”

  1. I just want to say a thing about the smolt runs and as a constant fisher and river walker it is clear that one of the major factors is bird predation particularly the invasive and not native goosander or the salt water cormorants which are allowed un presedented free reign due to government These predators are allowed more protection than one of the largest revenue generating sports and although 95% of fishers are more conservation minded due to dwindling stocks these predators have a 24hour free for all on every fish in the larder.
    Having seen a massive increase in feathered predators on all rivers I fish it makes you wonder if I am the only logical pair of eyes to see the major impact these predators are having.
    It’s common sense more beaks to feed means less fish no arguments about maybe or not. There aren’t more otters or mink just more invasive birds that dont practice catch and release.
    Time to get on with the job of reducing the predator numbers or increasing stocks via hatcheries to help our rivers grow back to the halcyon days for both trout salmon and all other species that are persecuted by these protected predators.
    The rivers and locks need the help they deserve.

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