Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Coquetdale Members Group

Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Coquetdale Members Group Members and guests enjoyed an informative talk, at their January meeting, given by, Rothbury resident, Kevin Dawson on The Life Cycle of the Atlantic Salmon.

Kevin handed round Salmon eggs and emerging alevins, encapsulated in clear acrylic cubes. He showed his own film of salmon conservation in progress on the North Tyne. This included; catching fish, using electric stunning, the ‘milking’ of females (hens) and males (cocks) for their eggs and semen, and showing the rearing process at Kielder hatchery.

A set of digital pictures showed the various stages in the fishes’ development in fresh water, from eggs to alevins, fry, parr, and smolts, before going to sea as salmon, travelling to Greenland and Iceland to feed, as well as to the Sargasso Sea, and other locations that recent research has identified.

Mature fish of three to four years return to the river to spawn in fine gravel beds in the upper reaches. Kelts are one year olds that come back to spawn. Some survive and return to the sea and others die after spawning.

Kevin dealt with a lively session of questions from the audience and was then warmly thanked by the chairman and all present.

As the meeting last December when Ian H Armstrong was to speak on “Wild America” had to be cancelled, due to the severe weather conditions, it is rescheduled for November 7 this year.

The next meeting is on Monday, February 7, at 7.30pm when local naturalist John Steele will be giving an illustrated talk entitled The changing fortunes of Coquetdale wildlife.

Admission is £2 for non-members, who are always welcome. For further details contact the chairman, Ian A Armstrong, on 01669 620142 or email ian@ianarmstrong.co.uk