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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
    Posts
    428

    Default Salmonid Habitat Enhancement

    In response to MichealMoyola's thread on the General Board, I recieved some interest regarding advice on habitat enhancement, so I decided to write a short guide. A caveat though, I am by no means an expert in the subject. This guide is only based upon the experience of myself and those I have worked under and with.

    I am going to do this over a number of parts. So...

    Part 1: Habitat enhancement: Why should I bother??

    Riverine habitats have been degraded. Arterial drainage schemes, channel straightening, the removal of key-stones etc. have all altered flow regimes and habitat availability for salmon and trout.

    Whilst marine survival is poor and not fully understood (yet) and angling clubs can do little about what is happening salmon at sea, they can help the salmon whilst in-river. The whole idea of habitat enhancement is to maximise the efficiency of the river as a "smolt factory." The greater the survival rate we can achieve between egg and smolt, the more smolts we can send to sea, so that more will survive to return. And of course, the more adults return, the more eggs are deposited in our now improved river, to produce even more smolts. and so on... As you can see, it shouldn't take long for an effect to be seen, depending on the amount of work completed, its quality, and the quality of the habitat there previous.

    Enhancement has been proven to help juvenile salmonid numbers. See here from page 66: http://www.loughs-agency.org/archive...ort%202009.pdf A neat little study.

    Some of you reading this will fish rivers that have hatcheries. I am not getting into a hatchery debate here, and I will be dissapointed if the thread descends into that, but I will say this; If you don't already complete enhancement works, give it a thought. What is the point in pouring a load of expensive fish, that have taken many man hours to rear, into second rate habitat, to experience poor survival? Care also needs to be taken to ensure that stocking isn't happening above carrying capacity, otherwise it is pointless. Enhancement works can increase carrying capacity. The bottom line is: Spend your money wisely!!

    It is all about the "field of dreams hypothesis." Build it and they will come!!

    Part two will discuss methodologies and will be added later. It may be next weekend though, because I am snowed under with my PhD work at the moment!
    Last edited by roecaster; 20-11-2010 at 11:15 AM.
    "the nuts drop in the pool: the Salmon there
    is the wisest of all creatures, old and wise"
    Those Swans Remember; John Hewitt, Ulster Poet.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    northampton
    Posts
    305

    Default

    Until a more realistic attitude is taken by the Authorities in respect of predation by Goosanders, Merganzers and Cormorants, any benefits seen as a result of habitat improvement will be limited. We may even find that we inadvertently encourage an increase in the numbers of these pests.
    In the absence of said realistic attitude, I believe that parr/smolt supplement from hatcheries is vital, even if unpopular.

    Tight lines, Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    the river
    Posts
    1,024

    Default

    Good post roecaster. I wish more folk would see that no magic wand can be waved and that the improvement of a river can take a long time. Get it right in the freshwater enviroment and let the fish get on with it themselves. They just need a little help sometimes.

  4. #4

    Default

    Very interesting roecaster. Enjoyed reading it.

    I have no intention, as you have stated, of turning your thread into a debate about hatcheries but I agree with you 100% in that there has to be something that have made the numbers decline in the first place and taking a look at the spawning environment of your river and improving it if possible should be the first step in any enhancement programme.

    Why does one river have a good run of fish and another a few miles up the coast have very little? There has to be something fundamentally wrong with the river itself.

    I look forward to your next installment Roecaster.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    416

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by let them all go View Post
    Good post roecaster. I wish more folk would see that no magic wand can be waved and that the improvement of a river can take a long time. Get it right in the freshwater enviroment and let the fish get on with it themselves. They just need a little help sometimes.


    Ah but how much help, how much time, how long before the much vaunted habit work is seen not to be working in isolation to improve things.

    There is a river where an improvement plan has been in progress for 14 years now, Its had a spend of 5/6/7 million pounds. |Its done all the things the Phd merchants have suggested it should and yet its had probably its worst season in total fish numbers ever.
    One of the reasons may well be that put forward by Dangler but sorry Roecaster your pre Ph'd treatise is not likely to be helpfull thanks all the same.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    the river
    Posts
    1,024

    Default

    I would ask those running the river you mention smolter for info regarding the juvenile stock densities. If they are healthy then what more can you do?
    Last edited by let them all go; 21-11-2010 at 12:00 AM.

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