Conference: From Headwater to Headland

Improving smolt survival in rivers and estuaries

This Conference, which took place on the 14th & 15th March 2017, was jointly organised by The Atlantic Salmon Trust and The Tweed Foundation

Presentations were recorded, and the videos have been edited alongside the presentation. The whole series is available online on the Atlantic Salmon Trust’s YouTube channel : Click Here or scroll down to view presentation titles and individual links.

The conference addressed key issues of salmon and sea trout smolt survival during the critical early stages of their migration, in rivers and in estuaries.

With fewer salmon surviving at sea, it is vital to ensure that as many healthy wild salmon and sea trout smolts as possible leave our rivers. The Conference explored how this could best be achieved. Leading scientists outlined the results of the latest research into the factors affecting smolt numbers, such as predation, barriers to migration and pollution, in both rivers and inshore waters, and highlighted the implications of this for the management of salmon and sea trout.

The Conference took place in the Guild Hall in the ancient town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.


Presentations: Please click the presentation title to view the video.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Session 1: Smolt Production and Survival: Influences in Freshwater

1. Andy Moore, Cefas
The role of the freshwater environment on regulating smolt behaviour and survival in the sea

2. Elvira de Eyto, Marine Institute, Ireland
Growth of juvenile salmonids in the Burrishoole river system, western Ireland: implications of warming water temperatures for smolt age

3. Stephen Gregory, Salmon & Trout Research Centre, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
Length of Atlantic salmon smolt and their subsequent survival

4. Alan Walker, Cefas
ReMES: Reach-based model estimates of smolt production

5. Andy King, University of Exeter – The sex ratio of sea trout smolts: preliminary results from the rivers Tamar and Frome

Session 2: Smolt Migration in Rivers

6. Eric Vespoor, Rivers and Lochs Institute, University of Highlands and Island
Local adaptation in smolt migration: an unrecognised factor in smolt and post-smolt mortality?

7. Richard Kennedy, AFBI Northern Ireland
Long-term smolt emigration patterns on the River Bush and associations with climate change and predation

8. Mich Fleming, Conservatoire National du Saumon Sauvage, France (Presented by Eric Vespoor)
The smolt migration of Allier-Loire salmon: timing and increasing environmental mismatch

9. Peter Walker, RSK
Environment Running the gauntlet – a review of the perils of downstream migration for smolts and an overview of existing mitigation options

10. Joel Rees-Jones, Natural Resources Wales
The influence of sluice gate operation on the migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon smolts

11. Rasmus Laurisden, Salmon and Trout Research Centre, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
Medium term effect of low head hydropower schemes on Atlantic salmon smolt migration

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Session 3: Smolt survival in the lower river, estuary and coastal waters

1.  Johan Höjesjö, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Population structure and migratory patterns of sea trout in Scandinavia

2. Angus Lothian, University of Glasgow and Marcus Walters, The Deveron, Bogie & Isla Rivers Trust
Migration speed, mortality and pathways of Atlantic salmon smolts in a river and the early marine zone in Scotland

3. Lorraine Hawkins, River Dee Trust
Tracking Dee smolts: where are the risks during smolt migration?

4. Matt Newton, University of Glasgow
Estuarine and Marine migration of Atlantic salmon smolts in the Moray Firth, Scotland

5. Niall Gauld, Marine Scotland Science
The utility of acoustic telemetry to investigate the initial marine migration of salmon on the west coast of Scotland

Session 4: The Impact of Predation

6. Niels Jepsen, Section for Freshwater Fisheries Ecology, DTU-Aqua
The impact of Cormorant predation on smolt survival

7. Richard Bamforth & Jake Davoile, Fisheries Management Advisors, Angling Trust
Piscivorous bird predation: update from the Angling Trust

8. Joanie Carrier, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada
Assessment of smolt predation by Double-Crested Cormorants in the Restigouche River Estuary

9. Jason Daniels, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Canada
Estimating proportional consumption of acoustically tagged Atlantic salmon smolts by striped bass in the Miramichi River

The AST and Tweed Foundation would like to thank the following organisations who helped to sponsor this event:
Angling Trust
Environment Agency
Salmon & Trout Conservation UK
Wild Trout Trust

Smolt Conference Sponsors