The Trout & Salmon celebrates it’s 60th Anniversary this month. What a fantastic achievement for a magazine that has become an institution for game anglers across the UK. I personally have many boxes of old T&S’s in the loft dating back to the late 70s. What a great resource they are; I still regularly look back through old editions searching for an article or feature of interest. Some people are more organised and a friend of mine had his collection indexed by author and subject!
It was therefore with great pleasure that the Spey Foundation were able to submit a bid, in conjunction with the Atlantic Salmon Trust, to the 60th Anniversary Save our Salmon campaign. The T&S invited interested parties to submit proposals for projects or ideas that would help return salmon to their former abundance. The Spey Foundation/Atlantic Salmon Trust pitch focusses on the one of the most crucial stages in the salmon lifecycle – smolt migration.Tagging technology is advancing rapidly with acoustic tags (sound-emitting) now available that can be inserted into the full spectrum of salmon, and sea trout, smolt sizes. Our proposal is to tag 100 smolts with these sound-emitting tags at a variety of locations in the river and to track their passage downstream with a network of listening devices. The listening devices will be positioned at regular intervals aong the river right down to the mouth of the Spey where it meets the Moray Firth. We will therefore learn a great deal about smolt migration and crucially survival during this vulnerable period of passage down the river and through the tidal zone.
The Spey Foundation has a wealth of experience in smolt trapping and in conjunction with the expertise of the Atlantic Salmon Trust and their associates we believe this project is both exciting and of great relevance in understanding the factors influencing adult salmon returns. The technology is now available to make this sort of study possible and by working with the T&S we can make the findings available to a wide readership. Readers will also have the chance to “sponsor a smolt” with updates on migration speeds and time of entry to the sea made available.
In the future we may be able to track the smolts out to sea with a network of marine listening devices but this study will provide answers to some fundamental questions about in-river survival of smolts e.g. are there any predation hotstops, does size matter i.e. do more larger smolts make it to sea, etc.
The T&S initiative is a competitive process so we are asking for readers and supporters to vote for Pitch 3 – Spey Track on the www.saveoursalmon.org website. The deadline for voting is midnight on the 30th June.