What we do

 

 

The Trust is currently involved in a number of projects and initiatives. Many of these have been identified as important within the Fisheries Management Plan 2014 - 2019. For more information on each, click on the appropriate link.

 

Current Projects :

 

The Laxford Sea Trout Tracking Project

 

During 2018 we will be tracking 100 sea trout within loch Laxford. We hope to be able to determine how the fish are using the sea loch and its estuaries and bays. This will help inform future coastal management of sea trout. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with Atlantic Salmon Trust, Marine Scotland, and the University of Glasgow.

 

Post smolt netting and tagging of sea trout in estuaries

 

Sweep netting is carried out on the estuaries and all trout of a certain size are tagged. At present very little is known about sea trout habitat use during the marine phase of its lifecycle, and recaptured fish give information on growth rates and marine migrations. Numbers of sea lice on each fish are also recorded allowing comparisons with neighbouring fish farms as part of the assessment of the affects of these farms on wild salmonids.

 

Juvenile Surveys

 

Undertaken by electrofishing in the rivers and burns in the summer. At each site the presence and abundance of salmonid fry and parr is recorded, allowing an assessment of the health of the population and early notification of problems.

 

Habitat Assessment

 

A river habitat survey describes the physical characteristics of the area including vegetation cover, substrate composition and flow type. The habitat assessment gives a detailed list of the issues apparent in the catchments and ways to improve the area for fish.

 

Biosecurity

 

Biosecurity is a very relevant and important part of the Trust work. In 2009 we produced a Biosecurity Plan for the area and are now working with others to prevent the spread of Invasive Non Native Species (INNS), and remove any that are currently present. In 2017 we became partners in the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative, aiming to update the Biosecurity Plan, identify and treat INNS and raise awareness of the issue.

 

Education

 

Education is an important aspect of the Trusts remit, we work with a variety of groups to raise awareness of fish conservation and promote best practice amongst fishers. The annual Ghillies Seminar is always well received, while the Trust also undertakes different projects and demonstrations with the local schools and the Highland Council Ranger Service.

 

Traps

 

Fish traps are deployed in April and May to assess the smolt run within the Badna Bay catchment. All species caught are recorded and length and age data collected. These data feed into a National database.

 

Scale reading

 

Scale reading provides information on the age and growth of fish as well as the number of times it has spawned. Much of this is undertaken on scale samples submitted by anglers and scales taken from salmonids during post smolt netting in the estuaries.

 

Area Management Agreements (AMA)

 

Area Management Agreements (AMA) - have been signed in Lochs Laxford and Eriboll as part of the Tripartite Working Group initiative. These are agreements between farms and wild fish interests, enabling dialogue with the aim of improving farm and estate management to the benefit of wild and farmed salmonids. The Loch Laxford AMA was the first to be signed in Scotland.

 

 

 

Past Projects :

 

The following projects were previously undertaken by the Trust. Reports are available by clicking on the title.

Sea Lice dispersal modelling

 

Carried out in conjunction with Loch Duart Ltd and the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences, the Trust undertook plankton sampling within the area to provide data for the model development.

 

Salmon Louse infestations

 

Salmon louse infestations of Scottish west coast sea trout post-smolts - Undertaken in conjunction with the Association of West Coast Fisheries Trusts, from 1997 - 2000.

 

 

Planktonic lice levels throughout the west coast, 2002 - 2005

 

Undertaken in conjunction with AWCFT and FRS. See Planktonic sea lice in Loch Laxford (pdf)

 

Manse Trap

 

Operated from 1998 - 2005, this looked at the smolt run within the system and marine survival rates. See Manse Trap (pdf)

 

Marine productivity

 

Marine productivity - Undertaken in 2006 to look at the productivity within Lochs Laxford and Eriboll.

 

Elver Survey

 

Undertaken by Dr May for the Trust with the support of the Highland Biodiversity Partnership. It aimed to increase our knowledge of the current distribution of elvers in Sutherland. See West Sutherland Elver Survey 2008 (pdf)

 

Genetic assessment of trout populations

 

Undertaken with funding from the Scottish Government, this is an initial look at the population structure.  See Genetic assessment of sea-trout populations in west Sutherland (pdf)

 

Eel Populations

 

The assessment of the eel population in the Geisgeil catchment was started in 2008. Part-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, it is hoped to improve the management of the population within the catchment, as well as providing more of an insight into the ecology this endangered species.

 

 
Email : wsft@btconnect.com    Tel : 01971 502259 
Postal Address : WSFT , Gardeners Cottage, Scourie,By Lairg. Sutherland,IV27 4SX.
Charity number : SC024426  Useful Links
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