Sea trout tracking project
Declines in salmon and sea trout populations in Scotland are thought to be influenced by increasing threats and pressures in the marine environment that can result in high mortality levels of fish. Some of the increasing threats that have been identified include climate change, the salmon aquaculture industry and a lack of available prey items such as sand eels. However, there are still many questions surrounding these pressures and their impacts on salmonids because the movements of the fish after they leave their natal freshwater rivers is relatively unknown. This makes it difficult to pinpoint the level of interaction fish are having with emerging or existing threats and the extent of the harm caused to the population.
Luckily for us, new technologies in acoustic telemetry research have allowed scientists to tag and track fish as they move through marine environments using hydrophones to detect small transmitters that are inserted into individual fish. Numerous studies across Europe and the UK have researched the movements of Atlantic salmon once they enter the ocean, and there are several ongoing studies in Scotland looking at the survival of salmon smolts as they first leave their natal rivers. Sea trout are not as well researched in Scotland, but SLRT are excited to be involved in a project that hopes to shed light on the movements of adult sea trout at sea. We are collaborating with the Zoological Society of London and the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE, University of Glasgow) for a brand new study that will follow the movements of adult sea trout in two sea lochs at the north end of Skye. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates about our project and the results!