The ‘Salmon Go To School’ project has been underway on the Spey for 16 years and throughout that time nearly all the schools within Speyside have taken part. The project provides pupils with an insight into the ecology of salmon and other fish species and the importance of fishing to the local community through a range of hands-on practical projects.
The Primary schools which participated this year were Aberlour, Craigellachie and Mosstodloch. Pupils at each school received an illustrated talk by Liz Henderson, who is the Spey Fishery Board’s Project Officer for the Spey Catchment Initiative. They then took charge of a classroom hatchery with around 250 salmon eggs, assisted by Steve Burns, Assistant Biologist from the Spey Foundation. Good husbandry is essential for the success of the project and in each school the pupils had to look after the eggs, ensuring that the water temperature remained cold and that any dead ones were quickly removed. Each school successfully hatched their valuable offspring and studied their development from salmon egg to alevin and then to fry. At this point the tiny fry were ready to be released back into their natural environment.
Liz Henderson said, “The teachers were very impressed with the programme and thought that as it was an excellent learning tool for their Curriculum for Excellence.” She added, “The children loved looking after the salmon eggs and were very enthusiastic throughout the whole experience.”
The project offers a great opportunity to teach the youngsters about what goes on in their rivers and also helps people understand the Spey Foundation and the Spey Fishery Board’s role in protecting and managing the resource of the River Spey. The Spey Fishery Board are very grateful to support for this project from Walkers Shortbread.
Below: Aberlour Primary Pupils carefully transported their fry to a nearby burn and wished them well as they began the next step in their epic journey. (Photos by Liz Henderson)