Positive News for 2019 Smolt Run

May 10, 2019

April and May is a busy time for the River Dee team as we focus our efforts on the smolt run.

This work has two key aspects- assessing smolt production and monitoring smolt migration in the river and out to sea.

We were pleased to find that we had 50% more smolts in our Beltie trap in 2019 in comparison to 2018. The 2018 data was depressed by as a result of  the eggs lost from the river bed during Storm Frank, which would have smolted in 2018. We have trapped 1500 smolts so far, compared to 1000 in 2018, which is encouraging and in line with what we expected. The fry which survived the storm would have faced less competition from parr, and so had a better chance to thrive. We would expect next year to similar or better results, provided we have regular conditions.

We also tagged a total of 215 smolts. Working with Marine Scotland Science we tagged 140 upper Dee smolts as part of our investigation into in-river and harbour losses.

A further 75 smolts were tagged on the Dinnet and Beltie Burns, using a different type of tag as part of a project to help us discover more about the early part of smolt migration. This work has been supported by Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. We know from this work that the smolts head south east from the mouth of the river and we will learn more about when and where they turn north. This information will help us make informed comment about future offshore wind developments and contributes to the wider smolt migration work being carried out in other Scottish rivers.

You can read more about his work on Vattenfall’s website here

We will report on these findings later this year.