Salmon in the Classroom project returns to schools

Wigtown Primary School children are pictured enjoying contact with some of the largest rainbow trout on the farm
Wigtown Primary School children are pictured enjoying contact with some of the largest rainbow trout on the farm

WIGTOWN Primary School is one of six local schools taking part in this year’s ‘Salmon in the Classroom’ Project, run by the Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT).

During the first session, a biologist from the GFT visits the school to tell the children all about their local salmon before leaving them to look after 100 salmon eggs within a compact twin tank or cooler unit. Wigtown Primary School successfully hatched their eggs to alevins over the last two weeks, allowing them to move quickly onto the second part of the project which took place on Monday at the Malzie Burn, where they returned their salmon to their native river – the Bladnoch.

With the salmon now back safely in the river, the class travelled to Torhouse Trout Farm where they were given a tour of the Galloway Fisheries Trust Gibb hatchery. Within the hatchery, the children saw exactly the batch of eggs from where their salmon were taken to bring to class and are talked through the process that takes place in winter within the hatchery to retrieve the eggs from broodstock and care for them right up to stocking time. The class then take a tour of Torhouse Rainbow Trout farm where they are shown the processes involved in bringing fish to the super market shelves.

In the summer, the children will return to the Malzie Burn where they released their young fish on Monday and will be able to see the Galloway Fisheries Trust carrying out electrofishing, as a means of catching and examining the young salmon (now fry) as well as seeing salmon parr and many other fish species within the burn.

This year, the Galloway Fisheries Trust are running the project within six schools; Dalbeattie, Kirkgunzeon, Palnackie and Borgue to the east of the region and Wigtown and Creetown to the west. If you would like to be involved in next year’s project, please contact Rowan Armstrong at the GFT office on 01671 40 3011.

If you would just like the opportunity to have a similar tour of the hatchery and trout farm; the GFT will be hosting two visits as part of the D & G Wildlife Festival – on Friday the 6th and 13th of April at 11:00. Please contact the GFT to book your place on either tour.