SMOLTRACK Project - Tracking salmon smolts in Europe

Date published: 19 May 2017

AFBI is a partner in an EU funded NASCO project, SMOLTRACK, through which salmon smolts from a number of rivers across Europe are being monitored.

The project is now active in the following locations:

  • Ireland – River Erriff
  • Northern Ireland – River Bush
  • England – River Tamar
  • Spain – River Ulla & River Tea
  • Denmark – River Skjern

The SMOLTRACK project involves counting, tagging and tracking smolts on each river. Traps are used to catch downstream migrating salmon smolts for tagging before releasing them to continue their seaward migration.

The salmon smolts are tagged with miniature acoustic transmitters and their subsequent migration is followed via acoustic listening stations situated at various locations.

A smolt ready for tagging
A smolt ready for tagging

Measuring - 13 cm min size
Measuring - 13 cm min size
This information will help scientists to understand the survival rates of salmon smolts during their migration through the lower parts of rivers, estuaries and coastal areas, in addition to providing data on smolt run timing and migration behavior.The project will provide new data which will inform future salmon management and conservation work.

In order to provide stakeholders and other interested parties a chance to follow and compare the migration timing of smolts in several countries, the daily number of salmon smolts counted in each system is uploaded for online viewing:

River Erriff, Ireland  
River Bush, NI               
River Ulla, Spain           
River Tea, Spain        
River Tamar, England
River Skjern, Denmark 

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies. 

AFBI's Vision is to use scientific excellence to advance the local and global agri-food sector.

All media enquiries to AFBI Press Office

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