This week we deployed two rotary screw traps (RST) into the upper Tamar catchment to catch sea trout kelts on their post spawning migration back to sea. The traps are currently anchored in the middle of pools ready to be positioned for trapping once spawning commences later this month. The RST work when they are positioned in a narrow channel of fast running water, with enough flow to rotate the drum, the fish swims into the drum, usually in coloured water or at night and gets slowly rotated back into a collection chamber at the rear of the trap. It will mean long cold nights of work for GWCT staff – brrrrrrrrrrr.
The trapped kelts will have two tags inserted into their body cavity, an acoustic tag and a data storage tag (DST). The acoustic tag will tell us when the fish reaches the lower river and goes out to sea and upon recovery the DST will tell us how deep the fish swims and its location at sea. We trialled the recovery of the tags last winter, where we tagged 16 sea trout kelts, and recovered tags from 4 sea trout which are revealing some fascinating data on the depths these fish swim at sea.
I attended a Career Spotlight event at Bournemouth University on Monday 15th October to present my own experiences with the SAMARCH project and to meet new inspiring people. The event started with a keynote speaker Brian Heppenstal from Hengistsbury Head followed by a panel discussion by Bournemouth University graduates and academics, including Professor Genoveva Esteban who also covered some of the SAMARCH project during the discussion.
The event ended in a networking session where current students were able to ask more questions from the speakers and find new career opportunities. I had made a poster about my SAMARCH placement which I presented in the networking session. With Professor Esteban and Jack Dazley we had the chance to discuss with people about SAMARCH and promote the placement opportunities.
Bournemouth University (www.bournemouth.ac.uk) and The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (www.gwct.org.uk) are recruiting a high calibre PhD researcher to work on a three year fully funded studentship investigating changes in the migrations of Atlantic salmon in relation to factors including climate change, with an emphasis on how changes in smolt migrations are impacting survival to spawning adults.
The study will develop flexible multistate state-space mark-recapture models to quantify and then investigate correlates of Atlantic salmon marine survival using data collected on the river Frome, Dorset UK, with the intention of generalising findings to other rivers in Europe.
The successful candidate will have a strong numerical background and some knowledge of salmonids.
On Tuesday 6th February, Bournemouth University Research Associate Katie Thompson from the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (SciTech) joined the SAMARCH (Salmonid Management round the Channel) team in search of sea trout in the river Frome. The five year EU Interreg Channel Programme funded project (2017-2022) will track juvenile salmon and juvenile and adult sea trout through four English and French estuaries to fill the gaps in our knowledge of how quickly fish migrate through intertidal habitat, their migration pathways and where adult sea trout spend time at sea. Currently, 95% of our salmon and sea trout die at sea, compared to only 75% in the 1970s. The project aims to answer the question of what proportion of this mortality occurs in estuaries and coastal waters compared to the open sea by using small acoustic and data storage tags. The project includes 10 partners from France and England who are a blend of research and regulatory organisations, and key stakeholders (Bournemouth University, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, University of Exeter, INRA Science & Impact, Environment Agency, Salmon and Trout Conservation, Agro Campus, Agence française pour la biodiversité, Normandie grands migrateurs, Obersvatoire des poissons migrateurs Bretagne).
Provide novel information on the survival and migration of young salmon and sea trout in four estuaries of the Channel area
Provide novel information on the movements and swimming depths of adult sea trout in the Channel
Create a genetic data base for trout on both sides of the Channel
Create a map of areas that are important for sea trout in the Channel based on sea scape
Provide new information to further improve the models used in England and France to manage their salmonid stocks
Train students in the management of coastal and transitional waters
Engage with stakeholders throughout the project
Inform current and develop new policies for the better management of salmonid stocks in our coastal and transitional waters
Although the project involves working on a number of rivers in the Channel area, the majority of the data collection and research will focus on the five salmon and sea trout “Index” rivers in the Channel area. These are the rivers Frome and Tamar in the south of England and the Scorff, Oir and Bresle in northern France.
The project includes 10 partners from France and England who are a blend of research and regulatory organisations, and key stakeholders: