​Return of the King- the reintroduction of salmon in the Culter Catchment​

October 07, 2019

One of the Dee’s most exciting projects got underway in 2014 when a fish pass was installed on the Culter Burn in the autumn of that year. The fish pass, installed with the support of local businessmen Martin Gilbert and Stewart Spence, allowed salmon access to the upper part of the Culter catchment for the first time in 250 years. In the five years since the first adult salmon ascended the pass, we have been heartened to see that the habitat is conducive to fish growth and that there is the capacity to support larger numbers over time.

Field Officer Pamela Esson said, ‘ The presence of juvenile salmon in the Culter catchment is a real story of success. Whilst juvenile production has mirrored the number of adult returns, which well reflects adult returns to the whole of the Dee, the surveys clearly show that when there are adults to spawn, opening the Culter catchment has benefited salmon by providing habitat for the fish to use. Fish growth on the Culter is good and there should be plenty of resources to support higher densities of fish in the future.’

In that first year, 38 salmon migrated up the fish pass into the Culter Burn. The following years showed lower numbers of salmon, with between 9 and 15 fish moving up in the years between 2015-2017. In 2018, despite low water conditions in the river, 27 salmon migrated upstream. Over time, with its good spawning and rearing habitats, the Culter catchment will continue to grow as an important tributary for spawning salmon on the Dee.

Read Pamela's report here