In 2021, the first phase of a salmon smolt tracking project took place, with young salmon tagged and monitored as they travelled down the Ken/Dee River system in Galloway. This gave a lot of information about how Salmon navigate down the river, with 58% of the tagged salmon smolts making it to the Inner Estuary.

Building on the 2021 study, work has been underway in recent months to track the 2023 migration of smolts down the river, with a further 40 smolts tagged this year in advance of their trip downstream.

The work was led by Galloway Fisheries Trust, supported by Drax – the owners of the Galloway Hydro Scheme, The Galloway Glens Scheme, University of Glasgow, the Dee (Kirkcudbrightshire) District Salmon Fishery Board, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Forestry & Land Scotland.

The journey of the tagged salmon is tracked using 33 receivers installed along the banks of the river, with data then analysed by the GFT and Glasgow University teams. Plans are afoot for this to be repeated in 2024, building an increasingly reliable and comprehensive data set.