Fish Scale Reading

Marine Scotland Science’s Jason Henry demonstrating new scale photography technology to SFCC members.

It is possible to understand a range of information on fish life histories from scales and scale reading is a key component of many fisheries management and research programmes. Dr Ronald Campbell of The Tweed Foundation runs a 2-day introduction to scale reading annually at the Faskally Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory.

The content of the course can be seen in this flyer.

The next scale reading course is dependent on demand and is not scheduled until 2020.

Fish Scale Photograph Library – Flickr

The aim of these online libraries is to provide material that anyone learning about scale reading can use to familiarise themselves with the various growth patterns that can be seen in scales and to practise recognising and recording them. Digitising and sharing scale images publicly also serves to preserve and raise awareness of historical material. These images also provide a reference of remarkable salmonid life histories, many of which are rearely observed in the present environment.

The Annotated Images – Atlantic Salmon – Illustrations Album is a small selection of scale photographs with the readings shown on them along with some additional notes. It includes some very unusual growth patterns that are not seen today but help to illustrate points generally.

The Annotated Images – Atlantic Salmon – Readings Album is a larger selection of scale photographs in pairs, with the first photo of each pair showing only the scale while the second has the reading indicated on it with lines. The reading notation is shown under the first of the pair as a guide to what should be looked for on the scale picture. Different forms and colours of lines indicate different features on the second photographs of each pair:

All Photographs are scanned from the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory Library (Marine Scotland Science).Digitised by Sean Dugan, Scottish Fisheries Co-Ordination Centre

© Crown Copyright

Material is re-usable for any purpose under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Scale from an Atlantic salmon caught in May 1930, digitised from collections held at the Marine Scotland Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory Library.