2020 Projects & Contracts
Projects in 2020 were overshadowed by COVID-19 and restrictions in place however Alan, AFT's Senior Biologist, 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 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 improved habitats for fish included:
- 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 were working every dry day to complete the electrofishing programme which included the Loch Fyne Rivers, the Awe and Etive
- River Goil - AFT continued 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 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 Peninsula 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 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 surveyed 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 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 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
²PIP - Pearls in Peril
Other Projects 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.