2021 Projects & Contracts
Argyll Fisheries Trust has undertaken a range of government and privately funded projects and commercial contracts in the 2021-22 financial reporting period.
National Projects: are workstreams we undertake in partnership with other Fishery and Rivers Trusts across Scotland to inform national fishery policies and wider management of natural resources. These projects include:
West Coast Salmon Smolt Tracking Programme (Led by Atlantic Salmon Trust)
AFT successfully completed our contribution to the first year of an important project which implanted acoustic tracking tags into a total of 200 salmon smolts in the River Orchy and River Etive which will enable us to learn more about the early stages of their marine migration. More information on the project can be found here.
Sweep Netting 2021 (led by Fishery Management Scotland)
Marine Scotland support of AFTs sweep netting programme in 2021, which investigates the sea lice burdens of sea trout in our sea lochs. This funding enabled surveys to be carried out at three sites in 2021: Loch Riddon, Firth of Lorn and Loch Etive. Other sites at Loch Fyne, Loch na Keal (Mull), Sound of Shuna and Carradale were also sampled to inform the development of Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) under contract by aquaculture operators.
NEPS/NIPS 2021 (led by Fishery Management Scotland)
The fieldwork for Marine Scotland’s National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS) in 2021 saw AFT staff complete electrofishing surveys at 30 sites across Argyll & the Isles. The survey results are used to inform the development of Salmon Conservation measures. More information can be found here.
Adult salmon sampling programme (ASSESS) 2021 (led by Fishery Management Scotland)
AFT staff worked with anglers and river bailiffs to collect scale samples and body measurements from adult salmon caught in fisheries as part of a pilot for a new Marine Scotland funded project which will inform the Salmon Conservation measures (using life history, sea growth and provide estimates of egg deposition).
Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN) 2021 (Marine Scotland)
AFT continues to contribute water temperature data to the national picture through our network of temperature recording tags deployed in the Add, Carradale and Awe catchments. This information is informing national policy on climate change and land use. More information can be found here.
Carradale Escapes Salmon Genetic Monitoring Project 2021 (led by Fishery Management Scotland)
Following the escape of over 48,000 farm fish from the farm at Carradale in August 2020, FMS developed a second year of the project to assess the potential interaction of farm and wild fish in the Firth of Clyde region. AFT successfully delivered our portion of the baseline genetic sampling of salmon fry using electrofishing surveys in 2021. This work was supported by Mowi Scotland. More information can be found here.
Catchment Projects: are locally developed projects which seek to investigate and tackle specific issues facing our rivers, lochs and fish populations in partnership with local fishery and resource users.
Awe Catchment Studies 2021 (Awe District River Improvement Association & Scottish & Southern Energy Plc)
An AFT fieldwork programme on the Awe catchment is set up to monitor and improve the salmon populations in the Rivers Awe, Orchy and Etive. The data from these surveys has informed management in relation to the regulated flow discharge and freshets in the River Awe and the effects of the declines in adult salmon returning on the recruitment of juvenile fish. Water temperature data collected by AFT now informs the SRTMN project and maps are now being used to identify priority sites for tree planting projects. New work was also agreed to inform concerns over water quality in the River Awe in 2021.
The Trust has undertaken the following work programme in 2021:
- Electrofishing surveys around the Awe & Etive catchments – completed Oct 2021
- Maintain temperature logger network – service and data download in November 2021
- Invertebrate surveys undertaken across the catchment in autumn 2021
- New project on downstream fish passage at the Awe Barrage under development – expected spring 2022
River Ruel habitat improvement
Utilising funds from Scottish & Southern Energy PLC, Ruel RIA and Wind Farm Trust, AFT staff and volunteers have undertaken habitat improvement works in the upper River Ruel in June 2021. The work has introduced Large woody debris (whole trees) into the river to increase the cover for fish, increase scour of riverbed substrates and protecting banks from erosion. Planning is underway for green revetment work in 2022.
River Goil habitat improvement
Utilising funds from The National Park, AFT staff and volunteers from Lochgoilhead Community Trust undertook habitat improvement works in the Goil in June 2021. The work has utilised green revetment techniques to improve riverbank stability and increase the riverbed condition by scouring silt and preventing excess erosion. This builds on the work completed in 2020 and further planning is underway for more green revetment work in 2022. More information here.
River Eachaig habitat improvement
AFT secured funding from Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park to treat invasive plants on the River Eachaig in 2021-22. Part of the work has been completed by the contractor with follow-up work being undertaken in April 2022. Further funding has been secured to continue treatment in FYE 2023.
AFT has undertaken juvenile fish surveys in the Creran catchment to continue to build our knowledge of the river and inform an experimental hatchery support programme. Further work is planned for 2022 to collect data on invertebrates at our sampling sites to inform work on improving nutrient levels in the river that may affect fish growth and survival. AFT is also in discussion with Forestry and Land Scotland to develop a broadleaf riparian woodland regeneration project to seek funding from any new biodiversity funding opportunities.
Loch Fyne Rivers
AFT planned to complete juvenile fish surveys in catchments in upper Loch Fyne to continue to monitor the salmon and trout populations in October 2021. Due to the volume of work this work has been postponed until 2022.
Commercial Contracts: AFT undertake a range of commercial contracts for government agencies, private companies, and developers. This work informs the protection and improvement of terrestrial and aquatic resources which affect fish and fisheries.
Scottish Salmon Company: Marine Monitoring of sea lice burdens of sea Trout in Loch Fyne and Loch na Keal (Mull) to inform Environmental Monitoring Plans (EMPs)
Mowi Scotland & Kames Fish Farming: Marine monitoring of sea lice burdens of sea trout in the Sound of Shuna (Loch Melfort and Loch Craignish) utilising sweep netting and a first trial of a coastal fyke net to inform the Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP)
Mowi Scotland: Marine Monitoring of sea lice burdens of sea Trout at Carradale to inform Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP)
Kintarbet Hydro Monitoring: Following on from the work carried out in 2020, AFT monitored the migration of pre-spawn sea trout through a hydro scheme at Kintarbet.
Scottish & Southern Energy Plc (Abhainn Bheag an Tunns Fish Habitat Survey): AFT undertook fish population surveys on a tributary of the River Add
Glasvarr Wind Farm: AFT have undertaken fish habitat surveys in watercourses at the Glasvaar wind farm site in mid-Argyll to inform their EIA
NatureScot (Cowal FWPM survey): AFT undertook a survey of river habitat in the Cowal Region to assess their suitability for Freshwater Pearl Mussels.
Mingary Burn fish survey: A fish survey undertaken on behalf of Lochaber Fisheries Trust to inform management policy
West Torrisdale Wind Farm Survey: AFT completed fish, invertebrate and fish habitat surveys to inform the EIA of a proposed wind farm at West Torrisdale in October 2021