Freshwater fisheries science involves investigation into fish populations, their habitats and the fisheries that exploit them to provide information required for effective management. Scientific research includes long term monitoring combined with experimental work and review to understand the processes that drive trends of change in fish populations and fisheries. Advice, based on research conducted at Marine Scotland Science and elsewhere, is provided to the Scottish Government, local managers of fisheries and agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Marine Scotland scientists also licence introductions of freshwater fish into Scottish waters, except where District Salmon Fisheries Boards discharge such responsibiliities in relation to Atlantic salmon and brown (sea) trout.
The main Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory is in Pitlochry with additional manned outstations in Montrose (Angus) and Shieldaig (Wester Ross), with fish traps on upper Deeside.
Current priority areas for research to underpin development of policy include:
- Interactions between marine renewable energy and migratory fishes
- Interactions between coastal aquaculture and wild salmon and sea trout
- Effects of change in thermal environment on salmonids and development of mitigation options
- Protecting and enhancing spring salmon
- Deriving conservation limits for salmon populations