Smolts on the Sunbeam

May 23, 2019 by 2 Comments | Category Fisheries, Marine Directorate general, Marine Directorate Science, Marine Directorate Surveys, Research Vessel Surveys

Scientists from Marine Scotland Science (MSS) are currently undertaking a smolt survey aboard the Fraserburgh pelagic trawler Sunbeam (FR487). The survey runs from 10 – 19 May 2019. The main objective is to survey salmon and sea trout smolt migration routes at various points both inshore and offshore (approx. 45 nmiles) along the Scottish east coast. The route includes the Moray Firth, Firths of Forth and Tay. MSS are using a specially designed net which samples from sea surface down to approximately 10m below the surface.

The rear part of the net incorporates a metal frame containing video recording capabilities and checks for Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags on fish, which are essentially barcodes that give reliable data, from shore tagged individual fish of various river origins, on specific animal movement. The net is operated with the codend either open or closed to retain fish for genetic assignment to regions and river of origin.

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  • Andrew Bett says:

    I am an Esk Rivers Fisheries Trustee and long time salmon and sea trout conservationist. I am interested to know if this MSS smolt survey will establish if smolts from East Coast Scottish rivers (inc. the N and S. Esk rivers) are migrating south from the river mouths and following the Dooley current across to the Norwegian coast and following the Norwegian coastal current north into the N. Atlantic? If this proves to be the case, I and my colleagues have grave concerns that our smolts are being severely affected by sea lice larvae from Norwegian coastal salmon farms, where sea lice infestation is reportedly out of control. It is also known that sea lice larvae can survive more than two weeks in the open sea before finding a salmonid host – in that time drifting many km out from the coast into smolt migration routes..Is it possible to research into this possible and very real threat to our E. Coast Scottish salmon smolts?

    • Marine Scotland Communications says:

      Thank you for your comment Andrew. We will be in touch soon with a response to your query.

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