Argyll Fisheries Trust

MISSION STATEMENT
"To promote and improve the health of aquatic ecosystems and self sustaining fish populations. To understand the biology and ecology of all freshwater fish species, including those that migrate between fresh and marine waters, their environment and factors that affect them."

 

Projects

These are the main projects we are currently working on.  Reports from many of our projects can be found in the ‘Publications’ page.

Projects in 2020 have been overshadowed by COVID-19 and restrictions in place however Alan, AFT's Senior Biologist, has continued with projects whenever safe to do so and in line with guidelines. 

The Trust has undertaken a range of local fisheries and national projects. Local fishery projects have funded baseline fish population and fish habitat surveys on most of the rivers in Argyll & the Islands (see RIVERS section) with the help of local fisheries and several funding partners including Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). In 2018 and 2019 AFT surveyed 30 sites around Argyll & the Isles which were randomly selected by Marine Scotland Science (MSS). These surveys are part of the wider National Electrofishing Programme of Scotland (NEPS)¹. The results of these surveys are being used to inform Conservation Limits for Atlantic Salmon in the region.

Other Projects that have improved habitats for fish include:

Pearls in Peril (PIP²) – A Project that improved habitat for fish that will also benefit Freshwater Pearl Mussels on a River of Special Area of conservation (SAC).

Electrofishing - AFT are working every dry day at the moment to complete the electrofishing programme which has included the Loch Fyne Rivers, the Awe and Etive. 

River Goil - AFT continues to support work on the Goil habitat project.  Fish and habitat surveys of the River Goil found that instream fish habitat is impacted by fine sediment which reduce egg and young fish survival. AFT has worked with the Lochgoilhead Community Trust, local farmers, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and Forestry and Land Scotland to reduce erosion and increase vegetation cover on sensitive riverbanks.

River Ruel Habitat (on-going) – Similar to the R. Goil and other rivers on the Cowal Peninsular Fish and habitat surveys of the River Ruel found that instream fish habitat is impacted by fine sediment which reduce egg and young fish survival. AFT has worked with the River Ruel Improvement Association, local farmers, Wind Farm Trust and Scottish & Southern Energy to reduce erosion and increase vegetation cover on sensitive riverbanks.

EMP Surveying - AFT are surveying three rivers (Add, Barbreck and Allt na Cille) as part of our EMP with Mowi in the Sound of Shuna.

Kinglas Water Habitat (2012) and River Etive (2019) – in partnership with local Estates, AFT has helped to re-establish riparian trees that will improve cover for fish and mitigate the effects of climate change by shading the river channel. AFT worked on the River Creran (2015) with Forestry and Land Scotland to restore fish habitat in previously canalised tributary streams.

In partnership with MSS, AFT have managed a network of in-river Data Storage Tags (DST) that collect continuous water temperature data in the Add and Carradale catchments that inform a national initiative to better understand the threat of climate change on salmonid fish through the Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN)³. In 2018 (on-going), AFT installed a network of DST’s in the River Awe catchment to assess the effect of local land use on stream temperatures.

¹NEPS - https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/Freshwater/Monitoring/ElectrofishingProgramme

²PIP - https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/safeguarding-protected-areas-and-species/protected-species/life-nature-and-biodiversity-projects/pearls-peril

³SRTMN - http://marine.gov.scot/information/scotland-river-temperature-monitoring-network-srtmn-predictions-river-temperature-and

Other Projects have focused on specific issues affecting migratory salmonids in the marine environment on the west coast of Scotland including the Tripartite Working Group (TWG), the Marine Interactions with Aquaculture Project (MIAP) and monitoring of sea lice burdens of sea trout funded by MSS.

Prevoius years: 

Carcass replacement / nutrient Study 2019 - This project utilised resources provided by fisheries in the Tulla Water / River Orchy (Awe DRIA), River Fyne / Kinglas Water (Loch Fyne RIA) and the River Creran / R. Ure (Fasnacloich Estate) to assess the potential to improve survival and diversity of young salmon in nutrient-poor catchments

Awe Catchment Studies 2019 (ADRIA)- An existing AFT fieldwork programme on the River Awe catchment was undertaken in 2019 which included electrofishing and redd count surveys in the River Awe. These surveys have tracked the response of juvenile salmon recruitment following the change in the regulated flow discharge and freshets in 2012.

River Ruel Juvenile fish survey and habitat improvement 2019 - AFT undertook a juvenile fish survey of the River Ruel in the summer of 2019 which found that average juvenile fish densities appear similar to historical baseline data.

MSS Mapping Salmon Pressures 2019 - Mariine Scotland Science / FMS funding. GIS based assessment of pressures acting on salmon populations including habitat / predation / sea lice amongst others.

MSS Sea trout Netting 2019 - Marine Scotland Science / FMS funding for monitoring sea lice burdens of sea trout in May & June at Dunstaffnage / Loch Etive, Loch Fyne, Carradale and Loch Riddon. Sample sizes ranged between 13 trout at Carradale and nearly 100 trout in loch Etive.

Pearls in Peril (PIP²) – A Project that improved habitat for fish that will also benefit Freshwater Pearl Mussels on a River of Special Area of conservation (SAC).

River Goil Habitat (on-going) – Fish and habitat surveys of the River Goil found that instream fish habitat is impacted by fine sediment which reduce egg and young fish survival. AFT has worked with the Lochgoilhead Community Trust, local farmers, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and Forestry and Land Scotland to reduce erosion and increase vegetation cover on sensitive riverbanks.

River Ruel Habitat (on-going) – Similar to the R. Goil and other rivers on the Cowal Peninsular Fish and habitat surveys of the River Ruel found that instream fish habitat is impacted by fine sediment which reduce egg and young fish survival. AFT has worked with the River Ruel Improvement Association, local farmers, Wind Farm Trust and Scottish & Southern Energy to reduce erosion and increase vegetation cover on sensitive riverbanks.

Kinglas Water Habitat (2012) and River Etive (2019) – in partnership with local Estates, AFT has helped to re-establish riparian trees that will improve cover for fish and mitigate the effects of climate change by shading the river channel. AFT worked on the River Creran (2015) with Forestry and Land Scotland to restore fish habitat in previously canalised tributary streams.

In partnership with MSS, AFT have managed a network of in-river Data Storage Tags (DST) that collect continuous water temperature data in the Add and Carradale catchments that inform a national initiative to better understand the threat of climate change on salmonid fish through the Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN)³. In 2018 (on-going), AFT installed a network of DST’s in the River Awe catchment to assess the effect of local land use on stream temperatures.

¹NEPS - https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/Freshwater/Monitoring/ElectrofishingProgramme

²PIP - https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/safeguarding-protected-areas-and-species/protected-species/life-nature-and-biodiversity-projects/pearls-peril

³SRTMN - http://marine.gov.scot/information/scotland-river-temperature-monitoring-network-srtmn-predictions-river-temperature-and

Other Projects have focused on specific issues affecting migratory salmonids in the marine environment on the west coast of Scotland including the Tripartite Working Group (TWG), the Marine Interactions with Aquaculture Project (MIAP) and monitoring of sea lice burdens of sea trout funded by MSS.

The Trust has undertaken a range of local fisheries and national projects. Local fishery projects have funded baseline fish population and fish habitat surveys on most of the rivers in Argyll & the Islands (see RIVERS section) with the help of local fisheries and several funding partners including Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). In 2018 and 2019 AFT surveyed 30 sites around Argyll & the Isles which were randomly selected by Marine Scotland Science (MSS). These surveys are part of the wider National Electrofishing Programme of Scotland (NEPS)¹. The results of these surveys are being used to inform Conservation Limits for Atlantic Salmon in the region.