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Ova to you, Andrew… salmon farmer supplies 300,000 eggs to re-stock fishing river

SSC's head of broodstock, Henry Dalgety, and Andrew Gorthy of the Benmore Estate. Photo: SSC.
SSC's head of broodstock, Henry Dalgety, and Andrew Gorthy of the Benmore Estate. Photo: SSC.

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has helped launch a new restocking project on Mull as part of an ongoing commitment to working collaboratively with wild fisheries.

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SSC has supplied 300,000 ova to the Benmore Estate at Gruline to assist in the restocking of salmon on its Forsa river.

The ova have been provided to the estate’s Glen Forsa hatchery as part of a long-term partnership with SSC. The hatchery marks a significant investment for Benmore Estate and will see up to 350,000 smolts per year raised and returned to the river. 

The Benmore Estate website states that the investment in the hatchery and a fish counter at Glen Forsa will underpin its plan to restore the salmon stock on the Forsa over the next 10-20 years, helping it manage the river to create the best west coast salmon fishery in Scotland.

Wild salmon

In a press release, SSC said the Mull partnership is the latest in a number of sustainable restocking projects it has supported to regenerate wild salmon numbers in Scottish rivers. In the spring of 2018, over 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 this river system where the company’s own Native Hebridean broodstock originated – and it was fish from those bloodlines that restocked the estate.

SSC said one of its 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 SSC and fellow salmon farmer Scottish Sea Farms, and feed producers Skretting, Ewos and Biomar.

Elevated catches

SSC’s involvement continues. The company’s Langass hatchery has received 30,000 wild ova from the River Carron and has returned over 685,000 ova and 228,000 fry back to the river over the past eight years.

SSC chief executive Craig Anderson said: “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.”

Henry Dalgety, centre, with, from left, Robin Harrowsmith, Donald Bisset, Renata Schmidtova and Andrew Gorthy, all of the Benmore Estate. Photo: SSC.
Henry Dalgety, centre, with, from left, Robin Harrowsmith, Donald Bisset, Renata Schmidtova and Andrew Gorthy, all of the Benmore Estate. Photo: SSC.
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