January 16th saw the launch of the SAMARCH project a multi-million pound EU funded work that will provide crucial evidence to strengthen the protection of salmon and sea-trout. Dr Matt Newton our Tracking coordinator attended the launch event in Southampton which saw researchers from France and the UK outline work packages, project aims and key deliverables for the work which is to be conducted over the next 5 years.
The AST see great value in the project the outcomes of which will significantly advance or knowledge in the management of salmon and sea trout stocks. The AST has contributed £20,000 of funding to the SAMARCH project (£10,000 per year for two years).
The work from SAMARCH is unique in that it will use index rivers on the south coast of England and the North coast of France. Index rivers are highly valuable as they have highly robust long term datasets of trends in smolt output and salmon return rates. The ability to build on this will greatly increase our knowledge of salmon and seatrout whilst provide new management practices for the species and help in their conservation.
The project is made up of four Work Packages (WP):
WP 1: uses acoustic tracking technology to follow sea trout and salmon smolts through the estuaries of the rivers Frome, Tamar, Scorff and Bresle in the spring of 2018 and 2019. This will enable mortality to be apportioned between the estuary and the sea.
WP 2: collects samples of juvenile brown trout from rivers in northern France and the south of England and adult sea trout across in the Channel to build a common genetic data base of trout and sea trout to facilitate the identity of the river of origin of sea trout caught at sea.
WP 3: involves collecting data on the marine survival of salmonids and modelling this and historic data from the five Index rivers to develop a predictive model for the abundance of returning salmonids.
WP 4: will be used to ensure the results produced by the project inform, improve and develop new policies for the management of salmonids in estuaries and coastal waters.
To find out more about the fish tracking in the SAMARCH project visit: samarch.org/project-information/fish-tracking/