Marine Scotland

New report on the swimming depth of sea trout published

March 22, 2016 by No Comments | Category Fisheries, Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science report series

The potential risk which marine renewable developments pose to animals at sea, including fish, is partly dependent on their swimming depth. For example, fish species which predominantly occupy space close to the surface will be at less risk from bottom-mounted tidal turbines than fish species that have a bentho-pelagic lifestyle.

The sea trout is an important species which commonly occurs in development areas for renewable energy development, but existing published information on its swimming depth was sparse and not in an ideal format for risk assessment. The need for information led to Marine Scotland contacting Jóhannes Sturlaugsson to work on data he had collected in Icelandic waters in various studies on sea trout during their sea migration using data storage tags (DSTs).

The work consisted of him compiling and analysing the raw data on swimming depth into a format suitable for use in risk assessments and gives detailed descriptions of the observed main patterns in vertical distribution and the potential environmental and behavioural drivers for the swimming behaviour observed.

The analysed data shows that the sea trout were close to the surface much of the time, with some time being spent at greater depths. Separate depth profile data are presented for each study year, and overall 81.49% of the time was spent at depths between 0-5m, and 16.34% at depths between 5.1 and 10m.

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