In 2010, the Esk District Salmon Fishery Board applied to the Scottish Government for measures that were designed to reduce overall exploitation on early running salmon and also sea trout stocks in the River South Esk. The location of the South Esk is shown on this map.
Scottish Ministers responded by acknowledging that there may be issues with these stocks and instructed Marine Scotland (MS) to carry out an investigation with a focus on the early running component of the River South Esk salmon stock. As a result, MS are undertaking a 3 year project with a view to identifying both the underlying causal factors for the apparent decline in these stocks and the appropriate management responses and remedial actions.
The first step in this project is to determine from where in the South Esk catchment early running salmon stocks originate. This will be achieved by radio tagging salmon captured in the coastal net fishery to the south of the river and tracking them to their spawning locations. In addition it will be established whether genetic tools can be developed to identify spawning locations of a larger sample of early-running salmon.
Once the spawning areas have been identified, then it may be possible to assess the status of the stocks in these areas. The suitability of the habitat for supporting the freshwater stages will be assessed to identify where bottlenecks to salmon productivity may be occurring. This will involve investigating the relative impacts of the physical, chemical and biological factors that may be responsible for limiting smolt production. It may also be necessary to evaluate the potential for removal of obstacles to migration.
Year 1: radio tracking study to determine from where in the South Esk catchment early running salmon stocks originate
These web pages are intended to provide an introduction to the radio tracking study and a mechanism for providing regular updates of progress.