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GWCT - The UK charity undertaking vital fish research

You might be familiar with the work the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) does on land – pheasant, farming and the like – but did you know it undertakes internationally recognised research into the salmon and trout in our rivers?

The GWCT research team work out of Wareham on the River Frome, where they monitor one of the nation’s index rivers and have been doing so for decades. In that time, their research has answered difficult questions such as which river characteristics provide the best habitat for young salmon and trout, what is affecting the survival of seaward fish in estuaries, and whether water crowfoot is beneficial for these species. Alongside that, they ensure all their fieldwork is done to the highest standards, with detailed studies into whether the capture and tagging of smolts affects their long-term survival.

On the Frome, they run a comprehensive monitoring process. They catch and monitor smolts, as they migrate downstream, checking how they’ve grown and estimating the numbers leaving the river to go to sea. One trend the team has noticed in recent years is that smolts are getting smaller, which suggests they’ll be less likely to survive at sea. The smolts are tagged with small PIT tags, about the size of a grain of rice, which allows the team to monitor them at six locations within the catchment, both downstream and then upstream as they return to the river as adults a year or two later. You can watch more about that work in this video shown at a recent Missing Salmon Alliance event.


Working with Orvis to support our vital work

We’re delighted that Orvis has kindly supported the GWCT by providing a spectacular day’s fishing for 6 Rods on the flagship 'Ginger Beer' beat along the River Test in Hampshire. You can enter the raffle here: The GWCT & Orvis River Test Raffle - Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

We’ve already sold more than half of the 200 available tickets, but some are still available at just £50 each. The draw closes at midday on Friday 29th March 2024. The draw will take place on Thursday 4th April 2024. The day will take place on an agreed date in 2024.

Proceeds of the raffle will support our vital work, allow us to purchase some much-needed but expensive equipment. These include ruggedised field laptops, new handheld PIT tag readers and a new electrofishing control box.

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