Many will I’m sure be familiar with the Marine Scotland tagging project on the coast at Montrose, for those who are not see here . The project was primarily designed to track spring salmon destined for the South Esk spawning grounds. However listening stations located on other rivers on the east coast showed that many of the tagged fish ended up in rivers other than the South Esk, thus proving conclusively; and not for the first time, that the Montrose coastal nets were mixed stock fisheries.
Marine Scotland were keen to expand the coverage of other monitored rivers including the Spey so when they approached the Fishery Board for advice on potential locations for a radio listening device we were more than happy to assist. Marine Scotland wanted a site close to the bottom of the river, secure, with a clear view of the river and ideally with a source of power. After consideration a suitable site was identified, permissions sought and today the radio listening station was fitted.
Baxters were situated in the ideal location and when approached they were more than helpful, providing an excellent site on a vantage point over the river and even setting up a power supply on the Fray Bentos production line factory roof. At this point I should say that I have reached the ripe old age of 50 and have never knowingly eaten a Fray Bentos pie, but now that I know they are made by Baxters I will definitely give them a try.
It will be very interesting to see if any of the fish tagged at sea off Montrose reach as far as the Spey. In the office there is an old reference to an earlier tagging study involving coastal nets off Montrose. In that study 7% of the tagged fish were later recovered in the River Spey. These early tagging studies were very important in establishing the migration routes for salmon around the Scottish coast. The numbers of fish involved in the current project will be relatively small so the probability of any turning up in the Spey are low, although 8 were recorded entering the Dee last year. I will update the results as and when they become available.
I will end with apologies to Baxters for the naff title to this post but would also like to thank them very much for the great support they provided for this exercise. Baxters are a major employer in the area and provide a first class showcase for a huge variety of local produce http://www.baxters.com/