Protection of migrating wild salmonid populations
Interactions between farm-raised salmon and wild salmonids are complex and difficult to quantify. However, through Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) Mowi supports meaningful and well-designed monitoring surveys which provide evidence on the health and status of wild salmonid populations.
Stephen MacIntyre, Head of Environment, met with The Scoop to further explain: “The ability to determine where our impacts may occur within the environment has always been a key priority for Mowi, to ensure that we are good tenants of the environment such that our interactions are minimised, and we meet all regulatory thresholds and conservation interests. This includes developing professional and collaborative working relationships with partners within the wild salmonid sector to prevent potentially damaging interactions in the shared spaces where farm-raised salmon and wild salmonids are present.”
Mowi now has nine EMPs (with more in development) covering a total of 24 fish farms. This summer, Mowi’s local teams will be supporting our wild fish partner organisations with surveys to sample juvenile sea trout and assess sea lice infestation pressure. Any sea trout caught are anaesthetised, weighed, measured, assigned a condition factor and any lice counted before being allowed to recover. All non-target species caught, and the recovered salmonids are then safely returned to the sea.
Stephen adds: “The catch techniques include traditional measures, such as seine netting but increasingly fixed coastal fyke nets are being used given the potential advantage they offer with the capture of a more representative sample of the local population of wild salmonids. It is with the deployment of fyke nets where we see the benefits in terms of resources and experience that our local teams can offer. In June our Croabh Haven team hosted a visit by Fisheries Management Scotland and Crown Estate Scotland to observe a current fyke net deployment in Loch Shuna by the Argyll Fisheries Trust with the support of Mowi.”
Example photos/illustrations of monitoring methods and 2022 surveys:
Seine netting – Loch Torridon 2022
Sea trout post smolts caught in Loch Torridon and being assessed (2022)
Fyke net diagram
Fyke net deployment – Loch Shuna (2022)
Sea trout smolts caught in Loch Shuna being assessed (2022)
Photos courtesy of APEM: Sweep netting for sea trout at Sanna, Ardnamuchan, as part of Mowi’s Small Isles Environmental Management Plan (EMP)