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New project aims to learn more about salmon in Galloway

Galloway Fisheries Trust is launching a new project to track Atlantic salmon smolts from Polmaddy to Kirkcudbright Bay.

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Dr. Samantha Becks of the Galloway Fisheries Trust.

Supported by a range of partners including the Galloway Glens’ Scheme, the Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board and Galloway hydro scheme oweners, Drax, the project will reveal the challenges and conundrums the smolts face on this journey.

The Spring programme of Galloway Glens’ Natural World online events continues on Wednesday (March 3) as ‘To Migrate or not to Migrate’ explores what we know, and what we don’t, about the travels of salmon and trout here in Galloway.

Both salmon and trout may spend some of their adult life in the sea, or sometimes all of it in freshwater. If they chose to migrate, how do they do so and why? Join the discussion of these fishy conundrums, and more, via Zoom at 7.30pm.

Dr Samantha Becks of the Galloway Fisheries Trust is among the speakers.

She said: “Over recent decades, there has been a decline in the number of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in many Scottish rivers.

“The Kirkcudbrightshire Dee smolt tagging project aims to understand the migratory patterns of Atlantic salmon smolts as they migrate out to sea and identify key areas in the Dee catchment where mortality rates are highest. Find out more at ‘To Migrate or not to Migrate’.”

The event is being led by Galloway Glens’ project officer Nick Chisholm, who added: “Salmon in Scottish rivers has been important for mankind ever since we arrived. Hunter-gatherer communities would benefit from the bounty that came in from the sea, without fail, every year.

“For all our existence they were important, indeed we passed strict regulations to protect the resource long before we understood anything about their life cycle. A salmon poacher convicted twice in the 14th century could expect a death sentence.

“Now we know much more but there are still mysteries modern technology is trying to unravel. ‘To Migrate or not to Migrate’, will explore our new understanding of how and why fish make these remarkable journeys, and will introduce a very exciting tracking project .”

To reserve your free ticket search ‘Fish Loch Ken’ at