Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust
Assessing the distribution and abundance of juvenile fish stocks is done regularly using electrofishing. The results show the density of fish in each part of the river, and which species are present.
On the Findhorn, electro fishing data exist back to 1997, giving useful information on changes in populations over time. There is much less historical data on the Nairn and the Lossie. The 2010 surveys provide a baseline for these rivers.
The 2010 surveys showed good populations of salmon in the Findhorn and the Nairn. While parts of the Lossie had good salmon numbers, other parts were less abundant. Sea trout are also present in all three rivers.
In 2018 the Scottish Government introduced the National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS) to assess the juvenile fish stocks in rivers. Using randomly selected sampling sites and appropriate statistical analysis, it is possible to estimate the number of fish in a particular section of a river, or by upscaling, the total production of fish in a river or region. This information can be used to compliment angler catch data to assess whether sufficient adult fish are returning to each river system to indicate a healthy population of salmonids. This in turn dictates whether conservation measures, such as catch and release, are required to protect and improve the fish stocks. The FNLFT surveyed 13 sites on the Findhorn and Lossie and 8 on the Nairn in 2018. Marine Scotland Science (MSS) have analysed and a report is available click here.
The Findhorn, Nairn & Lossie juvenile fish data were combined to give a regional density of salmon fry and parr that would classify all three rivers in the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Trust area as Grade 1 under the Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Regulations. Within that the Findhorn was classed as Grade 1.
The NEPS surveys continued in 2019 and FNLFT completed electrofishing surveys at 9 sites on the Findhorn (Table 2) and 15 on the Lossie, while the Nairn DSFB completed 6 sites. The results from the 2019 surveys are due to be published by Marine Scotland later 2020 but initial indications are that the results were similar to 2018 with healthy stocks of juvenile salmon present.
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