Skye trout tracking study receives welcome boost from salmon farmers

The project will enable the trust to better understand sea trout behaviour.

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A tracking study of adult sea trout around the Isle of Skye is among a series of projects being funded by Scotland’s salmon farmers to support wild salmon and trout.

The Skye and Lochalsh Rivers Trust received a grant of £25,720 to undertake an acoustic telemetry tracking study of adult sea trout.

Isabel Moore, senior biologist at The Skye and Lochalsh Trust, said: ‘This project will provide further information about threats faced by sea trout in the marine environment and help guide the conservation management of wild salmonids in Scotland.’

A total of £120,000 has been granted to organisations this year as part of a partnership between Salmon Scotland and Fisheries Management Scotland to address the long-term decline in wild salmon and trout populations.

Now in its second year the £1.5million Wild Salmonid Fund is financed directly by Salmon Scotland and managed by independent charity Foundation Scotland.

The study on Skye will focus on two sea lochs, Loch Snizort and Loch Greshornish, which are situated on the north end of the island. This project will enable the trust to better understand sea trout behaviour, movement and survival in waters around the island.

Additional expertise will also be brought in from the Zoological Society of London, while Mowi Scotland – which has a salmon farm in Loch Greshornish – has offered in-kind boat support for the project.

Wild salmon and sea trout numbers have been in decline for decades on both the east and west coasts of Scotland – the result of habitat loss and rising river temperatures due to climate change and historic de-forestation.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: ‘Wild salmon populations across the world have decreased over the past century, and it is vital that we rely on good science to help focus our attention on the real issues that are affecting wild salmon and trout populations.

‘By supporting community-led projects to restore our rivers we are playing our part in reversing the decline in wild salmon numbers and identifying solutions that not only work here in Scotland, but globally.

‘Salmon farmers are delighted to share their expertise in maximising salmon survival and make a financial contribution to protect wild Scottish salmon.’

Among the other four projects awarded funds was West Harris Trust which received £35,000 to save the historic Fincastle Dam. The structure supports the western bank of Loch Fincastle and connects the Luskentyre Estuary with the freshwater of the loch and the Laxdale river where wild salmon progress to their spawning grounds.

Photograph: The project will enable the trust to better understand sea trout behaviour. NO_F25_SkyeTroutTrackingScheme