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Galloway Fisheries Trust

Fisheries House, Station Industrial Estate, Newton Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. DG8 6ND
Telephone: 01671 403011 · Fax: 01671 402248 · Scottish Registered Charity No. SC020751

Looking downstream on the River Cree

Brown Trout

Looking upstream on the River Bladnoch

Felling of commercial forestry in Galloway Forest Park

Looking upstream on the River Luce

North American Signal Crayfish

The sandy beach at Loch Grannoch

Belted Galloway Cattle, or 'Belties'

Fly fishing on the River Cree

Murray's Monument

A small upland burn

A stoneloach

The High Cree, looking towards Cairnsmore of Fleet

A small waterfall on the Buchan Burn

A salmon from the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee

Egg-citing Times!

18 February 2016

Once eggs are 'shocked', they are ready to be transported outwith the hatchery

Once eggs are 'shocked', they are ready to be transported outwith the hatchery

Salmon eggs in all their glory!

Salmon eggs in all their glory!

Three egg boxes containing 100 eyed ova are buried at each site

Three egg boxes containing 100 eyed ova are buried at each site

An artificial 'redd' is dug out creating a depression in the gravel which can be filled with eggs and covered over

An artificial 'redd' is dug out creating a depression in the gravel which can be filled with eggs and covered over

Planting eyed ova at the tail end of a pool in the Upper Bladnoch catchment

Planting eyed ova at the tail end of a pool in the Upper Bladnoch catchment

In January, salmon eggs held in the Bladnoch hatchery began to eye up.  Once a process known as ‘shocking’ is completed, the eggs are able to be transported out of the hatchery and this year, we took the opportunity to continue egg box studies in the upper Bladnoch as a means of determining water quality in this historically acid-rich environment.

The study is very simple; fill three egg boxes with 100 eyed salmon eggs in each box between gravel, secure the lid and bury within the river bed where salmon would naturally have been more likely to spawn (at the tail end of a pool where faster flowing/well-oxygenated water falls).  Concentrate the sets of egg boxes in areas of particular interest (the Polbae Burn, Dargoal Burn and Loch Maberry outflow are three of six egg box sites in the upper Bladnoch) and return to retrieve the boxes when you expect the eggs will have long undergone hatching.  Acidified water inhibits the hatching enzyme of salmon eggs from around pH 4.5, a figure the upper Bladnoch can regularly decrease to upon a spate event.  This year’s Bladnoch egg boxes were placed in the river a few weeks ago, which means the eggs have potentially experienced four periods of higher flow – including in particular, yesterday’s flood event.  Look out for more on this project when we return to the egg box sites in late March or April to uncover survival rates….

As well as using the salmon eggs to collect valuable data on water quality, we also like to stock some out in areas of the catchment where water quality can sustain life but where natural recolonization has been slow due to surrounding degraded habitat.  In theory, this kind of stocking activity will help kick start a viable salmon population that in future, will be able to maintain itself as upper catchment water quality improves.  Last week, we undertook stocking of eyed ova into two burns where suitable water quality and habitat will assist in this slow recovery programme of the upper Bladnoch. 


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