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Opportunities to volunteer with the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust

Posted: Thursday 17 May, 2018 @ 07:13:21

Sweep netting team with sea trout by the Kanaird River estuary, May 2017

The Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust (formerly the Skye Fisheries Trust and the Wester Ross Fisheries Trust) carries out a wide range of activities aimed primarily at supporting the conservation of wild fish populations and fisheries management. Our remit includes education and raising awareness of wild fish related issues. We enjoy working with people from many different backgrounds.

Over the coming months the Trust has plans to carry out a variety of field work. This includes sampling sea trout at several coastal sites in the Wester Ross area and surveying juvenile fish in some of the rivers between Ullapool and Glenelg, and the Isle of Skye. As in previous years, for some of this work we’ll be looking for volunteers who’ll enjoy helping as part of a team.  

Much of our work is part-funded by fishery proprietors, the Scottish Government, and through project grants, contracts, and by donations and membership income.  However some of our activities are only possible thanks to enthusiastic volunteers.

Volunteer opportunities include:

 (1) Sampling wild sea trout in the sea using a 50m long sweep net. Pulling in the net can be quite hard work; however it is usually exciting and enjoyable for anyone interested in fish and other wildlife. If you are in good health and reasonably fit we’ll be very happy to invite you along. If not quite as energetic as in years past, there are usually several less energetic support jobs such as taking photographs or helping with data recording. We’ll be netting for sea trout from late May until July, and then again in the autumn.

 (2) From July until the end of September our focus is on surveying juvenile fish in freshwater using electro-fishing equipment, under licence from the Scottish Government. This year we plan to survey a series of sites as part of the developing national assessment of juvenile salmon. If you enjoy hill walking and hiking and are interested in helping with this, please get in touch.     

Electro-fishing days can be long. Sometimes it rains, or the midges come out. However there is often other wildlife to see or other things of interest. If you are looking for occasional paid work we’ll also be happy to hear from you, especially if you have the right skills and plenty of energy to keep going.

 (3) SWRFT is a project partner with the new Scottish Invasive Species Initiative [SISI] project, led by Scottish Natural Heritage [SNH] and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund [HLF]. This 4-year project aims to control non-native invasive species which threaten our native wildlife. Our focus will be on removing invasive non-native plants such as Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and Skunk cabbage which can smother native plants with adverse consequences for other wildlife; and locating and killing North American mink. The mink work follows on from the Scottish Mink Initiative [SMI], a volunteer-based project, and aims to protect ground nesting birds such as terns, black guillemot, lapwing, moorhen, grouse, and water voles.

If interested in the new SISI project, please get in touch. We have a big area to cover and will be looking for as many people to help as possible.

For further information, please contact Peter Cunningham or Peter Jarosz  tel. 01445 712 899.