South Esk tracking project

These bulletin blogs represent news about Finavon and the South Esk, and my views as a riparian owner. While I may digress at times to write about other places, these are not the views of any other organisation, nor are they designed to promote the interests of any individual or organisation other than Finavon Castle Water and factors affecting the fishery. Tony Andrews

Not everyone who reads these bulletins will have attended the Esk Board AGM last Friday. I thought it might be useful to give an update on the second year of the Marine Scotland Tracking Project.

Tagging for 2013 is now complete with 38 salmon tagged at sea after capture in the Usan nets, and 22 in the South Esk after being caught in a net trap positioned in the Arn Pool at Upper Kinnaird. It is a pity that no contract was agreed between the Government and Usan Fisheries to continue tagging into the month of May. This I understand was for commercial reasons, presumably because Messers Pullar did not want disruption to their extremely valuable May netting.

As I mentioned in my last blog, May is now the most prolific month for spring salmon on the South Esk. In years gone by it was April that saw the main run, but that has changed. We will therefore not get the data we need to find out where our May-run spring salmon spawn and where their progeny have their nursery areas. That is a pity, and I suggest is against the public interest. In other words, that contract with Usan Fisheries should in my opinion have been demanded and signed. After all, we are talking about a national and natural resource here, and we all are involved (or should be) in protecting it for future generations.

So, how many salmon are now in the South Esk catchment, as revealed by recordings on the positioned static receivers?

22 salmon were tagged in fresh water at Kinnaird

13 tags remain below the dyke (some which have been regurgitated and are now sitting on the bed of the river)

6 salmon have crossed the Kinnaird dyke

1 salmon is already in Glen Clova

4 are unaccounted for

24 radio-tagged salmon, including the 2 nettedat sea, now appear to be in the South Esk, which is more than at any time in 2012

38 salmon were tagged at sea in Usan nets

2 entered the South Esk

1 entered the Tay

7 entered the North Esk

28 are as yet unaccounted for.

These 60 fish are the baseline for the 2013 tracking exercise whose objectives are:

1. To find out where South Esk springers spawn

2. To find out which rivers the Usan nets are (lethally) exploiting

Less data than 2012 but nevertheless useful. Static and roving receivers, possibly backed up by a helicopter-borne receiver in the autumn, will be used to track tagged fish to their destinations in the South Esk and in other rivers.




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