Spey hatchery genetic report

The report on the Spey hatchery genetic study has been finalised. It can be downloaded here .

During the course of this study the male and female salmon broodstock used in the Spey hatcheries between 2004 to 2012 were genetically sampled. In subsequent years DNA samples were collected from rod caught fish from fishing beats throughout the river. The DNA profile of the rod caught fish between 2008 – 2012 were screened and compared to the broodstock DNA database. From this is was concluded that between 0% and 1.8% of all rod caught fish could be traced back to the hatchery.

Year to year the results were reasonably consistent with a low contribution of hatchery origin fish to the Spey rod fishery.

Another aspect of the study involved sampling adult fish returning to Spey Dam. The area above Spey Dam was targeted heavily for stocking due to the low juvenile stock present above the dam. Out of a total of 33 adults sampled in 2010 none were found to be of hatchery origin.


There are 3 comments for this article
  1. George Watson at 5:29 pm

    I may have missed something in the report however I would appreciative if you could clarify the following.

    If the fish that are stocked in the Spey are from fish that have been netted at the end of the season (brood stock)is it not fair to say that through genetics these fish will be a high proportion of non taking fish.
    If so why are they then being compared to rod caught fish which are possibly of a different genetic make up.
    Would it not be more accurate to compare the stocked fish with netted fish?

    George Watson

    • Brian Shaw Author at 6:55 pm

      Interesting point George. I personally am not aware of any studies which investigated whether there were any detectable genetic differences between taking and non taking fish. It is true to say that most of our broodstock were netted but some were actually caught after the end of the season by rod fishing. And of course with catch and release being so widely adopted some of the broodstock may actually have been previously caught during the actual fishing season.
      Who knows someone may one day, through genetic modification, produce a race of free taking salmon of such size and fighting ability, that the Fisherman’s Prayer will be answered for all! I for one hope that I am not around for that day!!
      Best wishes

  2. Anthony Tinsley at 10:20 am

    Well done all those concerned. Pretty much the result that was expected since Eric Verspoor advised the Spey Research Trust that this result was likely several years ago.

    Is there any theory why the return rate was a bit better in 2009?

    Anthony Tinsley

    Former Chairman Spey Research Trust

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.