Smolt Trapping & Tagging

August 31, 2016

Smolt trapping

 The traps were in operation from the end of March until mid-June. The Beltie trap caught 1,300 salmon and over 4,700 trout, whilst the Sheeoch caught 950 salmon and 1,150 trout. By dye-marking some of the smolts, we were able to carry out mark-recapture tests to determine how efficient the traps were at capturing migratory fish. This autumn, the work to calculate total smolt production will be completed and be used as part of this year’s juvenile stock assessment. We will be redeploying the smolt traps at the beginning of September to assess autumn parr migrations.

 Smolt tracking

The receivers were finally removed from the Harbour in late July and so the analysis of the data has only just begun. Out of the 50 fish that were tagged, 46 were detected by the receivers. However, there is a large amount of data to review, as these 46 fish were detected by the receivers in total more than 30,000 times!  The picture emerging is that there was a higher-than-expected ‘loss’ of fish in the lower river – 24%, but no losses in the inner harbour. The tracking equipment appeared to work very well even in the noisy harbour environment and the team are confident that the equipment has given them the full picture. The large task of interpreting this data is now underway.

The planning of the tracking work for next year is currently underway and is likely to involve tagging and tracking smolts from the upper catchment as well as from the Beltie and Sheeoch traps again. Marine Scotland Science have also outlined a project to look at tracking Dee smolts out with Aberdeen Harbour next year. 


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