UK Environment Agency tags Tamar salmon to provide vital data on health of fish stocks

Photo: UK Environment Agency

The UK Environment Agency has completed the task of tagging more than 4,000 juvenile salmon smolts (juveniles) before they leave the River Tamar and head out to sea.

Fisheries experts have also fin-clipped nearly 900 sea trout smolts, so they can be identified when they return to the Tamar.

Salmon and sea trout are monitored intensively on the River Tamar to provide information on the biology and status of stocks. The Tamar is one of three index rivers in England and Wales, but the only index river reporting on the marine survival rates of salmon and sea trout.

Some 4,093 salmon smolts, heading out to sea as part of their migration to their adult feeding grounds at sea, were trapped using the Environment Agency’s rotary smolt trap on the River Tamar.

Fisheries experts then carefully injected a tiny tag (size of an iron filing) into their nose cartilage. This tag can be detected in any adult fish that return to the Tamar and are caught in the fish trap at Gunnislake.

The information can then be used to calculate marine survival rates.

Sea trout smolts are tagged or fin-clipped on alternate years to distinguish between the different age classes and calculate marine survival rates.

The Environment Agency said that although it is interesting to get reports of tagged or fin-clipped fish from anglers, only data collected from the adult trap at Gunnislake is used to calculate marine survival rates and it is preferable that any fish caught are returned to the water as soon as possible.

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