A SCOTTISH salmon farmer has launched a restocking project on Mull in collaboration with local wild fisheries interests.
The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) supplied 300,000 ova to the Glen Forsa hatchery at Benmore Estate at Gruline as part of a long-term partnership.
The hatchery marks a significant investment for the estate and will see salmon raised and returned to its fishing river.
The Mull partnership is the latest in a number of restocking projects supported by the SSC to regenerate wild salmon numbers in Scottish rivers.
In the spring of 2018, more than 4,000 smolt were released into a river system on North Uist as part of an ongoing project with the North Uist Estate.
It was in this river system that the company’s own Native Hebridean broodstock originated – and it was fish from these bloodlines that restocked the estate.
One of the company’s most successful programmes is on the River Carron, where its relationship with the wild fishery began 10 years ago through the supply of feed and equipment to support wild salmon stocks.
This was formalised in 2012 when the University of the Highlands and Islands set up a research project to investigate the impact of restocking on the river.
The three-year River Carron Restoration Project was jointly funded by the SSC, Scottish Sea Farms, and feed companies Skretting, Ewos and BioMar.
The SSC’s Langass hatchery has over the past eight years received 30,000 wild ova from the River Carron and returned more than 685,000 ova and 228,000 fry back to the river.
Craig Anderson, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Company, said: ‘The unique natural environment on the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides is the fabric weaved into the provenance of our Scottish salmon.
‘Restocking projects, such as those on the Benmore Estate, play an important role in our ongoing commitment to support the marine environment in these beautiful areas.’
Bob Kindness, manager of the River Carron Restoration Project, said: ‘The restocking project has proven to be effective on the River Carron, with elevated catches for the last 15 years, reflecting exactly the timeline of our restocking efforts.
‘Our longstanding relationship with the Scottish Salmon Company has delivered practical support and knowledge sharing between both parties and has a delivered a measurable impact on wild stocks.’
Picture: Henry Dalgety, SSC head of broodstock, and Andrew Gorthy of the Benmore Estate