A.s.t.

goosander

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Reading an article in the Herald this morning that the A.S.T. has spent £18.000.000 on research into the fish going to the sea. It seams much to there surprise that about half the fish [parr] have gone missing in river before getting to the estuary. They are carrying out this "research" over 3 years to get some facts. Just think what some of this spent on lobbying the government and the R.S.P.B. over F.E.B.s might have achieved.
Why is it that folk that spend there working lives on the river know nothing and those in there office know all.
Bob.
 

mows

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Remember gents, it important that Ken stays gainfully employed and claims all his expenses. Imagine if he wasnt there, they might do really radical things like trying to identify and quantify the damage done by fish farms.
 

goosander

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What I can simply not understand is how "conservations" want to reintroduce beavers/lynx/wolves etc. and do not bother with what we already have.
Watching the owl trust release barn owls to populate an area that used to have owls. Instead if they had asked why no owls there they would have discovered that all the white grass that used to house all the voles has been ploughed and is now under barley etc.
Why are e ones that work on the rivers and the land looked on as stupid.
Bob.
 

Loxie

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It's a classic case of assumption gone wrong. Many years ago rivers were pristine and contained loads of fish. Over the last couple of millenia we have built dams and weirs to abstract clean water and return filth. In more modern times we have built industrial maunufacturing, intensive agriculture, hydropower, forestry, towns and cities, fish farms, mills and distilleries. We have invested new and unpleasant chemicals for ourselves and our animals and flushed them done the rivers. We have changed the hydrology, obstructed, abstracted, acidified, polluted and silted our rivers. As populations have increased, increasingly rapidly, these effects have become much greater.

The corresponding decline of salmon has been marked. In areas of greater human impact the decline in salmon has been greater, in areas of little human impact there has been little or no decline. The conclusion that our salmon conservation organisations have drawn from this has been to assume that smolt production from our rivers has been unaffected and that therefore there must be a problem at sea. If we want more salmon to return we must find where they are going missing at sea.

Because there are so many competing organisations and so much of their income is spent on duplicated salaries, offices, pensions and expenses an absolute Klondike needs to be raised to spend even modest sums on tracking salmon. Trying to track a few small fish accross the vast Atlantic Ocean, from Norway to Newfoundland is prohibitively expensive and modest sums don't go very far. Thus the incredible sums spent on a wild goose chase.

Perhaps if we were serious about salmon we could start by tackling the blindingly obvious problems most of our rivers are facing? If the whole SCS were to be rationalised to one organisation with a single office and one set of staff the money raised in good faith by anglers might be used efficiently. We could spend it on real problems instead of imaginary ones and maybe achieve something other than jobs for the boys and fat salaries, pensions etc.
 

Grassy_Knollington

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Reading an article in the Herald this morning that the A.S.T. has spent £18.000.000 on research into the fish going to the sea. It seams much to there surprise that about half the fish [parr] have gone missing in river before getting to the estuary. They are carrying out this "research" over 3 years to get some facts. Just think what some of this spent on lobbying the government and the R.S.P.B. over F.E.B.s might have achieved.
Why is it that folk that spend there working lives on the river know nothing and those in there office know all.
Bob.

I think those numbers are way off Bob, £1.8m maybe, but surely there’s no way the ‘Missing Salmon Project could cost £18m, even over 3 years.
 

seeking

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Remember gents, it important that Ken stays gainfully employed and claims all his expenses. Imagine if he wasnt there, they might do really radical things like trying to identify and quantify the damage done by fish farms.

Steady, it's not just "No Show" Ken who's in that boat.

Remember his boss apparently has historical links to aquaculture.

Of all the SCS, the AST is noteworthy because it actually does a bit of science (obviously not as well focussed as it could or should be IMHO), rather than just being a reactionary pressure group like STA/STC appears to be.

Why any of the leaders of them is on anything approaching £100kpa is another matter, but maybe not be best use of stakeholder funds.


To go back to Bob's OP, recall that 10 years ago, lone voices on here warning about the dangers facing rivers, and that in-river could be a more pressing problem than All-At-Sea were roundly pelted, manytimes from folk on the banks (of the Dee and Spey) and the SCS. And the fundamentalist problem, the "Face That Launched 1000 Salmon Fishing Regulations" resulted from a Spey ghillie in cahoots with the High Priests of Doom and Gloom and the SCS!

What's always needed is a good combination of science, observation, logic and common sense (as opposed to the daft-sense: "all we need is to stop killing fish" and "well of course CCR can't do any harm, can it!").

Needs better management and awareness, as ever.
 

goosander

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:fish:Have said in the past many times if all the "groups looking after salmon conservation" got into the one office instead of empire building it would be worth supporting them.
The sums of money quoted were from the papers which was the reason for starting this thread.
There are many problems effecting the fish BUT were it not for the fishers a lot of rivers would be back to open sewers. If you do not believe that and think that S.E.P.A. would look after them then ask yourself what S.E.P.A.is doing about the muck from the fish farming.
We can do nothing about the seas but we should manage a bit in the rivers.
People who think the rivers were full of fish in the past should read some of the old fishing books. The same problems that we have they to also complained about then.
Bob.
 

SOS

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I have read that a statement made by Mark Bilsby C.E.O. of the Atlantic Salmon Trust at the river Ness DSFB agm where he said that 91% of Salmon smolts tagged in the Ness system did not make it to sea.
If this is true surely that tells them just about everything they set out to find in their missing Salmon project,which cost millions,with the cost of tags and hundreds of receivers doted along the rivers and out at sea.
Although the other rivers did not have such a high in river mortality rate it was still around 50%.
But you can guarantee that for the next 2 or 3 years they will still be looking for funding to carry on the project rather than do something about what they already know .
 

Roag Fisher

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I have read that a statement made by Mark Bilsby C.E.O. of the Atlantic Salmon Trust at the river Ness DSFB agm where he said that 91% of Salmon smolts tagged in the Ness system did not make it to sea.
If this is true surely that tells them just about everything they set out to find in their missing Salmon project,which cost millions,with the cost of tags and hundreds of receivers doted along the rivers and out at sea.
Although the other rivers did not have such a high in river mortality rate it was still around 50%.
But you can guarantee that for the next 2 or 3 years they will still be looking for funding to carry on the project rather than do something about what they already know .

A study conducted on the Conon in 2016 (or 2017) using same sized tags found an in river mortality of <20%.
That should have you asking questions about the AST project.
 

Kylesider

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The obvious question is how could the smolt mortality rate have increased so much in such a short time?

Perhaps there is considerable annual variation in mortality depending on environmental conditions and variation in predator assemblages. I have personally been caught out before thinking that the results from the first year of a study are the norm only to find that it represented more of an aberration from the norm. None of these things are particularly easy - if they were they would already have been done.
 

Roag Fisher

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Perhaps there is considerable annual variation in mortality depending on environmental conditions and variation in predator assemblages. I have personally been caught out before thinking that the results from the first year of a study are the norm only to find that it represented more of an aberration from the norm. None of these things are particularly easy - if they were they would already have been done.

There was little or no variation in environmental conditions between the two years. I spend a fortnight there in early may each year.
There was a difference in who did the tagging, and maybe in the tagging procedure used.
 
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Kylesider

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There was little or no variation in environmental conditions between the two years. I spend a fortnight there in early may each year.
There was a difference in who did the tagging, and maybe in the tagging procedure used.

It would be very unusual for water temperature, flows in the upper reaches of the Conon system and lower reaches of the system, wind direction etc. etc to be identical between years. The point you raise about potential effects of efficiency and experience of the tagging team is an important one and if my memory serves me correctly it is being looked at statistically as part of the studies being undertaken.
 

Roag Fisher

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It would be very unusual for water temperature, flows in the upper reaches of the Conon system and lower reaches of the system, wind direction etc. etc to be identical between years. The point you raise about potential effects of efficiency and experience of the tagging team is an important one and if my memory serves me correctly it is being looked at statistically as part of the studies being undertaken.

The smolts are released below the bottom dam on the system, and there is always compensation water available for smolts. Even in "low" flows there is a lot of water with few choke points (if any).
Could it be that the high smolt (and consistent) mortality may be down to the tagging process?
Rather than looking at matters "statistically", it might be better to fit control groups with dummy tags and keep them for a few days?
Once you move away from reality to statistics, modelling, etc that will be the credibility of the project gone. (Similar to the river category fiasco).
Anyway, off to the pub for the rugby.
 

Kylesider

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The smolts are released below the bottom dam on the system, and there is always compensation water available for smolts. Even in "low" flows there is a lot of water with few choke points (if any).
Could it be that the high smolt (and consistent) mortality may be down to the tagging process?
Rather than looking at matters "statistically", it might be better to fit control groups with dummy tags and keep them for a few days?
Once you move away from reality to statistics, modelling, etc that will be the credibility of the project gone. (Similar to the river category fiasco).
Anyway, off to the pub for the rugby.

Before they get to the trap at Achanalt they will have experienced a whole host of environmental conditions. In low flow years, particularly if water temperature is also low, migration delays may be a big problem. In turn the degree of smoltification of many fish may be very different between years for a given date. This in turn may affect their behaviour e.g. migrating in daylight or at night. Additionally, whilst their is a minimum compensation flow on the main stem, higher flows from spill events, accretion downstream of Achilty etc may aid survival. Use of dummy tags in the way you suggest has been mentioned in the meetings between us local biologists and representatives of AST. It could be an important stepping stone in assessing direct tagging mortality. However, indirect mortality will be more difficult to tease out. Surviving in a tank or cage is one thing, surviving when you have a 5lb brownie chasing you is another...
 

goosander

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I only have my eyes and what my fly catches to tell about my river. Some years we get smolts that are about 9 inches long. This is after the previous year being wet. Other years the smolts are about 6 inches and this usually means that we are in for a dryish season. My eyes tell me that broods of 3-6 goosanders mean a shortage of food [parr].Not very scientific but a lot cheaper than other forms of counting.
Bob.
 

Roag Fisher

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Before they get to the trap at Achanalt they will have experienced a whole host of environmental conditions. In low flow years, particularly if water temperature is also low, migration delays may be a big problem. In turn the degree of smoltification of many fish may be very different between years for a given date. This in turn may affect their behaviour e.g. migrating in daylight or at night. Additionally, whilst their is a minimum compensation flow on the main stem, higher flows from spill events, accretion downstream of Achilty etc may aid survival. Use of dummy tags in the way you suggest has been mentioned in the meetings between us local biologists and representatives of AST. It could be an important stepping stone in assessing direct tagging mortality. However, indirect mortality will be more difficult to tease out. Surviving in a tank or cage is one thing, surviving when you have a 5lb brownie chasing you is another...

Yes, there is, sadly, a high concentration of 5lb brownies just below the dam.
Maybe not the best advert for fisheries management best practice.
 

keirross

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I only have my eyes and what my fly catches to tell about my river. Some years we get smolts that are about 9 inches long. This is after the previous year being wet. Other years the smolts are about 6 inches and this usually means that we are in for a dryish season. My eyes tell me that broods of 3-6 goosanders mean a shortage of food [parr].Not very scientific but a lot cheaper than other forms of counting.
Bob.

It's easy sums, g: per adult 200g/day times cohort (4 x 100gms) per day so about per unit family, about 250-300 kilograms per year. So, if salmon fecundity at 6000 eggs x mortality x smoltification rate, it is a significant mortality enhanced ratio. Apparently.

You know what, such has been the collective farce incorporating board and trust they cannot even publish parr or smolt figures - any basis for any plan. Top gravy for the custodiata
 

keirross

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Goosander predation

Albeit from 1995, here's a paper abstract regarding estimated goosander consumption on North Esk
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Goosanders are likely to consume 480‐522 g fish per day of which two‐thirds are juvenile salmon; equivalent to a daily intake of 10‐11 smolts and 48‐52 parr.
, and
Annual predation of smolts by goosanders was estimated to be between 8000 and 15 000 or 3 and 16% of annual production.
.
This is before population increase
A very limited study, granted. Anyone got any numbers more recent?
 

goosander

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F.E.B. birds are one thing we could do something about. There numbers have increased until I now see them on every stretch of water still or moving. About 30-40 years ago I asked the game keeper what those birds with the hooked beaks were. goosanders as I had not seen one before. For the pervious 30 plus years I had be on different water ways and never seen one despite being an interested bird watcher.
They are not the only problem but one that would greatly help. Why are all the salmon groups not shouting about this. It is not research needed just some common-sense and eyes open.
Bob.
 
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