SAMARCH Placement by Yums Cleary, Bournemouth University

30 April 2021

Rob Beeson

After a year in Lockdown, I was thrilled to have a short placement with SAMARCH. Between March and May the fish wait for climatic cues and the cover of darkness to make their ‘run’ to sea. The April nights were cold and dry as we checked the trap every half an hour for our surprise catch.

The smolt and sea trout were similar in appearance but different in behaviour. The smolt were smaller  with sharply forked tails, prettier spot markings and were jumpier than the trout. Averaging 13cm, they were surprisingly small to be heading off to sea. The smolt are driven by their natural rhythms, but not all trout turn silver and head to sea. I loved my placement and all the scientists were very generous with their time and knowledge.

Image: Upstream of the rotary screw trap on the River Frome. The ‘J’ shaped line of bubbles mark where the fish are diverted towards the trap.


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