Ronald Campbell : I am the Fisheries Biologist for the River Tweed, the
second most productive Atlantic Salmon river of Scotland. There is also an
important Brown-trout fishery and a much under-exploited Sea-trout fishery.
The Tweed catchment is around 5000 km2 and the Salmon angling yield is
around 9000 fish/year.
Our work is based around a Fisheries Management plan, which runs in
five year instalments. Sections under way at present are :
Salmon catch record analyses (netting records go back to 1808, rod to the
mid 19th century); Salmon scale reading at a sample of rod fisheries along
the river (to show patterns in time and space of the life histories of the
fish being exploited) and work on tagging Salmon to find angling
exploitation rates should be starting this year. Work on Radio-tracking
Salmon from time of entry finished last year and showed the localisation of
fish with different return times in particular sectors and tributaries of
the catchment. Electric-fishing sites have been set up throughout the
catchment to monitor Salmon juveniles and a VAKI fish counter was installed
in a fish pass in the main "Spring" tributary of the system last year.
Brown Trout work involves assessment of catches through a logbook scheme in
which anglers record catches and effort and electric-fishing surveys of the
smaller burns of the catchment which are dominated by trout. Work on
setting up traps to monitor spawning runs of Brown-trout is starting this
summer. Sea-trout work so far is based around tagging kelts on their return
to the sea to assess marine growth and time periods spent away. Scale
reading is also underway to determine the different life-histories to be
Habitat surveys have now finished and extensive habitat improvement works
are underway, mainly removing man-made obstacles to fish spawning
migrations and bankside fencing to increase organic imputs and bankside
cover from better bankside vegetation.
Interested to hear from anyone working in any of those areas, but
particularly from people with experience of trapping spawning migrations of
trout in small burns.