Quantifying smolt survival from source to sea: informing management strategies to optimise returns (SMOLTRACK III) (39751)

Project Details

Description

The proposed project aims to identify and evaluate the relative contribution of several principal factors responsible for smolt mortality in order to better inform the development of fisheries management strategies that can optimise natural smolt production and consequently increase the number of wild adult returns. The key factors responsible for smolt mortality during transition from freshwater to the marine environment remain poorly understood and lack quantification. The current project focusses on three major issues. Short and medium-term climate change scenarios strongly suggest increasing temperatures, with a strong impact on freshwater production. However, the thermal environment juvenile salmon meet during onset and continued migration require quantification across the latitudinal range of the species to better inform future outcomes and develop mitigation strategies. Telemetry studies are increasingly relied upon to evaluate salmonid migration behaviour and monitor survival. However, documentation on the effect of capture, handling and telemetry tagging on the natural smolt behaviour and risk of predation in natural settings is limited. The potential bias in results must be evaluated and documentation to back up the methods is necessary. Measuring the impact of a direct management intervention by effecting a by-pass of an observed smolt bottleneck in freshwater will form the third element of the project.

Partners
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization, UK (coordinator)
DTU Aqua, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (coordinator)
Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, UK
General Directorate of Natural Heritage, Xunta de Galicia, Spain
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, UK
Inland Fisheries Ireland
University of Gothenburg, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Sweden
Natural Resources Institute Finland
University of Évora, Marine and Environmental Research Centre, Portugal 

Funding
The project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.  

Research area: Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology
StatusActive
Effective start/end date01/01/201931/12/2022

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