The spring is always a busy time for the Board’s staff, especially with hatchery work, but this year even more so because of the new catch and release regulations that were introduced this season. Between 15 January and 31 March it has become an offence to kill salmon throughout Scotland.
In order to make sure anglers were aware of and abiding by the new legislation the bailiffs were active throughout this whole period. Fortunately we are not aware of there having been breaches of the legislation, but that is perhaps not surprising given that most Tay anglers release everything they catch throughout the whole spring anyway.
The hatchery cycle continued as normal, with hundreds of thousands of eyed ova being stocked out in the early spring. The first unfed fry were stocked out into the wild at the end of April and others were moved to feeding tanks where they will be grown on for release in the autumn. The main element of the Tay’s unique hatchery programme is the Kelt Reconditioning, whereby adult spring salmon kelts are kept in captivity and fed, producing eggs each year for a number of years beyond their normal lifespan. The spring is a critical time because it is then any new fish have to be taught to feed and regain their body weight. This requires the constant attention from our hatchery manager, Steve, at this time of year.
As well as being a vital stock enhancement tool, the hatchery is also a wonderful educational resource. Once again the Tay Foundation has run a successful Salmon in the Classroom project. In 2015 pupils from seven different local schools took part. As well as rearing their own baby salmon in their schools they have also paid visits to the hatchery to see this work at first hand. This project and the visits always seem to be hugely popular with the children. However, we are greatly indebted to Vaillant Ltd who have provided generous sponsorship which particularly allows the visits to take place.
David Summers Tay Foundation