Supporting Better Public Awareness

Fishing For Data On The River Oykel

Kyle of Sutherland Fisheries Trust is gathering information on the sizes and ages of wild adult Atlantic salmon in the River Oykel SAC with anglers kindly providing fish for sampling before safe release.

Over the past few decades it has become clear that salmon returning to Scotland’s rivers are getting smaller. This is important as it is the size, and age, of female salmon that determines how many eggs they produce and therefore how many salmon will be produced in future generations.

Scales record information throughout the life of the salmon and can be used to determine the age of the fish, how many years an individual fish spent in the river and in the marine environment and how fast it grew at different life stages.

This project is funded by Marine Scotland and delivered in partnership with Fisheries Management Scotland and Scottish Fisheries Coordination Centre.

ASSESS-Scale-sampling
Steven MacKenzie of Lower Oykel Fishings releasing a salmon unharmed after sampling in August 2022.
Steven MacKenzie of Lower Oykel Fishings releasing a salmon unharmed after sampling in August 2022.
Scale from a remarkable 3.5kgs salmon caught in August 2021. The centre of the scale indicates 4 years of growth as a juvenile in freshwater before 2 winters spent at sea. Image provided by Marine Scotland Science.
Scale from a remarkable 3.5kgs salmon caught in August 2021. The centre of the scale indicates 4 years of growth as a juvenile in freshwater before 2 winters spent at sea. Image provided by Marine Scotland Science.

The project is funded by Marine Scotland and will help inform national and international management aimed at safeguarding salmon for future generations. In particular, it will help to inform our understanding of trends in the size, and age, of salmon returning to Scotland’s rivers. This year's project builds on last years pilot project., report available here.

ScaleMap (1)