WREN - Wester Ross Environment Network

Fish Catch in Gairloch 19 May

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At short notice we had an opportunity to carry out a sweep net session in the Flowerdale estuary thanks to volunteers who were at a WREN website training here in the office this morning (James M, Cory, Reuben [the ranger], work placement lad, Kyle, and Lucy Robison, and Bill and Fraser Anderson).
We caught the tide, and this time caught some sea trout.
9 sea trout were caught; one larger fish (281mm), and 8 post-smolts (148 to 203mm). We also caught two flounders and three 15-spined stickelbacks.
The larger sea trout carried more lice than I’ve seen on a sea trout here before, conservatively estimated at 500 lice, mostly small attached lice [see photos]. Total lice counts for the post smolts were 60, 65, 40, 20, 16, 7, 4, and 0; nearly all very small early stage chalimus lice (hard to count – and possibly underestimated on some fish).
The lice counts correlate with very high counts of planktonic larval lice at MSS Shieldaig and high on farm sea lice counts for 1st quarter of 2015, as reported in SSPO Fish Health Management Report for 1st quarter of 2015.
The larger fish was also predator damaged (bird beak); I think the damage was relatively fresh; so the fish may have already been louse infected prior to being attached.

Peter Cunningham

WREN would like to thank the following organisations for their support:
Scottish Natural Heritage
The European Agriculture fund for Rural Development. Europe investing in rural areas
The Highland Council
The Scottish Government

Tom Forrest (Chairman) chair@wr-en.co.uk

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