The CSTP was an Interreg IVA funded project, running from 2009 to April 2013, intended to improve the management and long term future of sea trout in the Celtic seas by providing information and management advice, and by establishing a wider awareness and long term network of people working to secure the future of sea trout.

The project was delivered through the Ireland-Wales Cross-Border partnership; but because of the wide-ranging distribution of sea trout, work was carried around the Irish Sea in a multi-partner collaboration. Participants were Bangor University, Inland Fisheries Ireland, University College Cork, The Environment Agency Wales and the EA England, Isle of Man Government, Nith District Salmon Fisheries Board, Galloway Fisheries Trust, Annan District Salmon Fisheries Board and Buccleuth Estate (Border Esk). Subcontractors included APEM Ltd, Cefas and Fishskill Many other groups gave support and major feature of the programme was sampling of sea trout by anglers throughout the participating countries.

The work was split into 7 tasks:

  • (1) management and dissemination,
  • (2) review of fisheries,
  • (3) Sampling,
  • (4) microchemistry,
  • (5) genetics,
  • (6) Freshwater production and
  • (7) Ecology, life histories, modelling for management.

Five key questions to answer, some addressed by multiple tasks, were:

  1. Are sea trout populations structured (i.e. systematically organised, not randomly distributed) around the area, if so how much and therefore what marine movement and exchange does this indicate?
  1. How and why does sea trout abundance vary over time and between regions and rivers?
  1. How do life histories and therefore the stock structure (size and age composition) vary amongst different fisheries and over time, in particular how does growth vary (growth rate being a dominant performance factor for fish)?
  1. How does feeding vary around the area (enhanced feeding being a major factor in determining the benefit of trout migration to the sea)?
  1. How can this information be assembled to offer better decision making and management advice using models based on population dynamics and responding to environmental factors, principally climate change, this being an explicit theme of this Interreg programme?

The CSTP has made progress against all these questions and an outline of the results is given below.  An Interreg Report has been completed and submitted to the EU and work is continuing to complete a Technical Report by October 2013. The huge amount of information gathered offers scope for even further work in the future.  This note is an interim outline for information, pending the final full report…..

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