The smolt run is upon us again and we are seeing numbers of smolts increasing at Catrine Dam again this year. Since the small amount of rain we had last week, numbers are steadily increasing between penstock and lade and it seems only a matter of time until we will be facing a repeat of the 2018 and 2017 situations where thousands of smolts were held up unable or unwilling to continue their downstream migration through the by-wash arrangements.In current and previous configurations, there just doesn’t appear to be adequate attraction flow to encourage smolts to take that route.
Another recurring issue is also evident and that is that the screens are not entirely smolt proof and we’ve seen a few smolts on the voe side of them already this year. This means those fish have no way back to the river to continue migration and are effectively lost.
ART will now contact SEPA as a matter of urgency seeking an alternative strategy to protect this years smolt run as we can’t stand back and allow the delays that happened in the previously two years to repeat again this year.