23 April 2018

Fisheries research to benefit from new design


THE fisheries team at GWCT is set to receive a boost from funds raised through a newly-designed badge.

The supporters’ salmon badge, unveiled last week, is on sale for £9.99, with £5 from each sale going towards the vital work carried out by our scientists.

Based at the Salmon and Trout Research Centre at East Stoke, the team is trying to understand what’s driving the decline in Atlantic salmon numbers. The numbers and movements of salmon entering the Frome each year have been recorded since 1973 and is one of the most comprehensive records of salmon movement in England and Wales. Our scientists work in collaboration with teams throughout Europe to study the global decline in salmon numbers and what can be done to better protect and improve stocks.

Head of fisheries Dylan Roberts said: “We are delighted to announce this new salmon badge which is a symbol of the work we do to better protect this enigmatic fish. The funds raised will go directly on our salmon research at the centre.”

Currently fisheries scientists are estimating the population of salmon smolts that leave the river each spring, in conjunction with the tag readers installed, through the Rotary Screw Trap (RST).

The trap is positioned in the river near our research centre each spring from late March to mid-May where it operates 24/7 – but counting has proved tricky due to the high flows caused by the wettest winter in years.

The RST works by using the river current to turn a large drum, which guides the fish into the central tube that funnels them into a holding box at the end. The holding box is checked every 30 minutes, day or night to avoid undue stress on the fish. They are weighed, measured and sometimes small fin and/or scale samples are taken for genetic analysis, sexing and aging, and then they are released unharmed.

Most smolts migrate at night or during floods when the river is coloured. It is hypothesised that this behaviour is an active decision and/or an adaptive strategy to take advantage of increased food, to reduce predation risk or both.

To support their work, you can buy a badge here 

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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