SMOLTRACK is a European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) funded project quantifying Atlantic salmon mortality during the early part of the outward migration as juveniles from river to high seas.
Pictured above from left to right: Dr Richard Kennedy (AFBI), Mr Hugo de Moura Flávio (National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), Denmark), Dr Kim Arestrup (National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), Denmark), Dr Andy Moore (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), UK), Dr Robert Rosell (AFBI), Dr Willie Roche (Inland Fisheries Ireland, RoI), Dr Pablo Caballero Javierre (Galician Government (Xunta de Galicia), Spain), Dr Niels Jepsen (National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), Denmark), and Dr Dennis Ensing (AFBI).
Over recent decades, the abundance of wild Atlantic salmon stocks has been in decline throughout their range, despite significant management measures put in place both domestically and at an international level. There is evidence that the initial mortality immediately after migratory juveniles (smolts) enter salt water is very high and that this ‘point mortality’ may explain most of the variation seen in return rates of adult salmon.
This project will determine the mortality of salmon smolts during their migration through the lower parts of rivers, estuaries/fjords and near-shore areas through case studies using acoustic telemetry in rivers in five areas: Denmark, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Spain.
The recent (November 7-8) meeting convened at AFBI HQ with representatives from all five areas present, reviewed the results of the first year of the project (2017), and agreed on small changes to standard operating procedures based on the lessons learned in 2017.
In addition a proposal for funding a one-year extension of the project by the EMFF was drafted at the meeting, which has subsequently been granted.