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Wester Ross spring spawning herring feature on BBC Blue Planet UK

Posted: Friday 29 March, 2019 @ 11:24:58

Wester Ross Herring Life Cycle Poster draft

As well as being a traditionally important food for people in Scotland, herring are also a vital link in marine food webs. Herring larvae and fry are eaten by other small fish including sea trout and juvenile salmon as they migrate to sea in April and May, and by many sea birds; larger herring are food for larger fish and for seals and cetaceans including minke whale and porpoise.

Following the rediscovery by scallop divers of a large area of seabed covered by herring eggs near Gairloch in March 2018, underwater cameraman, Andy Jackson of Subsea TV, expressed much interest in attempting to film herring spawning in the area in 2019. The Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust was keen to assist Andy and to provide support in collaboration with several local boat operators and other local enthusiasts.

Some of Andy’s video is being shown later today on BBC1 on Blue Planet UK:

A Wester Ross herring poster can be found on the downloads page of this website .

A story about the search for herring can also be found on the downloads page of the website here

Thank you to the BBC Natural History Unit for providing Andy with assurance that, pending success, video would be purchased; and especially to Paul Satchell and Jason Holmes of BBC Blue Planet UK for interest and support. For samples of herring and reports of shoals, thank you to Neil Grant (Bright Horizon), Iain MacKenzie (Silver Cloud), Terry Jack (Nereus) and Jody MacNeil (Harvest Moon). Thank you to Bill Whyte and John Mackenzie (K-2) for boats; and to Gairloch harbour master Lennie Campbell, Patricia and Dave Sturrock, Noel Hawkins (SWT Living Seas project) and George Brown (Inverness Dive Club) for much assistance and enthusiasm. For encouragement and other information, thank you to Annie Worsley, Roderick McIver, Ian McWhinney (Dry Island), Willie Mackintosh, Alasdair Hughson (Keltic Seafare), Sue Pomeroy, Sara Nason (Sea Change Wester Ross), Caitlin Orr and Owen McGrath (SNH), Guy Pasco (Seascope Fisheries Research), Susan Lusseau (Marine Scotland Science) and Steve Mackinson (Scottish Pelagic Fisheries Association). Additional costs were met by some of the above and by a contribution from the Skye and Wester Ross Fisheries Trust.