River Director Lorraine Hawkins Looks Forward to the New Season

February 08, 2019

It was great to see so many people turn out to support the start of the Dee’s fishing season.

It will be my first full season as River Director and it is a role I feel very privileged to be in. We have had our fair share of challenges in recent years.  Some of these are beyond our control, but others are within our power to do something about. I will direct our resources towards ensuring that the Dee and its salmon are protected. 

Our focus is to get as many smolts out to sea as possible, and so our smolt tracking is a key area of research for us. The crucial information that this work is already providing is helping us to protect this iconic species.

A few years ago, we invested in some acoustic tracking technology, and this has enabled us to track juvenile salmon smolts as they leave the river and head out to sea. For the last 3 years we have been learning about their migration and survival from this.

Our first finding was a surprising amount of mortality in the river – an area we thought was safe. We have a duty to explore conservation measures where we can make a difference, and so in that respect, finding an issue in the river was an opportunity, as we have a real chance of reducing these losses.  

This year, we have moved on a step and are trialling conservation measures to see if we can improve the survival of smolts during their migration. 

We have also just done our first year of tracking salmon at sea, working with Marine Scotland Science, and this year will see us extend further offshore. This is providing new understanding of how our salmon start their ocean migration, and it’s through understanding we hope to afford better protection to these fish in the future.

Click here for more on Managing Smolts on the Dee