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Deepwading

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Are the wheels falling off the smolt tagging project bandwagon?

Ninety-one percent loss - in a river the size of the Ness - in April/early May! It all makes good headlines, and will no doubt serve to keep the big corporate sponsors of the project happy by continuing to keep the attention of both the public and salmon anglers well away from their activities. Nevertheless, you do have to wonder what level of loss will persuade somebody to seriously question the methods that are being used?

One prominent feature of the Lost Surgically Tagged Smolt Project is that it has never been referred to as a scientific or science-based endeavour. Indeed, to my knowledge there has been no public mention of the existence a scientific (oversight) committee or, if such a body exists, details of its membership. This may be a simple oversight. However, to date, both the blizzard of press releases and the highly controlled and restricted presentations related to the project have been led by a collection of characters with apparently little or no background in live fish handling, surgery or tagging - or so-called 'suspect frameworks'.

In what seems to be a desperate attempt to get things back on track, a recent press release in a local Scottish newspaper attempted to defend the Project on the basis that the tags were only the size of a Paracetamol tablet. What could be more harmless than just one paracetamol (albeit jammed into the body cavity) - even if you are only a 13 cm long fish that is desperately trying to get down to sea? The problem is that a number of photos that have leaked out suggest the use of a tag that is rather larger than anything available over the counter of your average High Street chemist. Perhaps they meant an equine version of the tablet - or even a particularly poorly designed suppository?

The article went on to state that the tags do no harm. However, the basis this rather critical assertion is not currently known, as there was no reference to a supporting source of data and information - even from the tag manufactures themselves. The potential impacts of field surgery on smolts were not mentioned.
 
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goosander

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Not sure about tagging smolts. Changing anything even just handling them can cause stress which might count for a few deaths. Far better to kill x number of goosanders say 10 % at the end of the day and count the fish in them.
Bob.
 

Grassy_Knollington

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Was that 91% loss from Smolts tagged in the Ness, or from Gary & Moriston?

Nothing is perfect, it seems obvious that tagging mortality is a key factor in determining overall survival. However, just like we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about FEB predation, after only 1 year of work, we probably shouldn’t jump to conclusions about tagging mortality either.

It’s really boring but it takes time to gain a more accurate picture from anything like this.
 

keirross

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Was that 91% loss from Smolts tagged in the Ness, or from Gary & Moriston?

Nothing is perfect, it seems obvious that tagging mortality is a key factor in determining overall survival. However, just like we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about FEB predation, after only 1 year of work, we probably shouldn’t jump to conclusions about tagging mortality either.

It’s really boring but it takes time to gain a more accurate picture from anything like this.

G, if you should find pop'n numbers too uninteresting do us a bit service and show a (UK) mortality rate versus confirmed covid-19. Common winter 'flu is seasonally predictive - corona-19 mortality will be an adjunct to total global.

Don't like it? Welcome to the (imagined) post-carbon reality...:)
 
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goosander

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Post 28.
No one is jumping to any conclusions about the damage these birds do. Have been on about this for years and all you hear is need to do more research. Why ??. It is obvious to any one who is out and about with there eyes open what is going on. All research is doing is keep a few people in a job while the fish die out and hundreds of jobs are lost.
Bob.
 

goosander

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Interesting but sounds the same but with different names to what has been talked about for years.
Two of the main problems are know. Goosanders and in certain conditions freshwater lice. A way back in the 90s I was involved in a project looking at the damage done by freshwater lice. The project was managed by Dr. Andrew Walker and in low warm water the lice could easy wipe out hundreds of parr.
Bob.
 

Man00003

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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.

the difference in river length is likely to be an important factor in differences of mortality between the rivers. Conon smolts (once tagged) only have a few miles to get to the cromarty firth whereas the ness smolts have to travel much further and through lochs/canals
 
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