Hatchery reared smolts released into the River Dee to boost salmon stocks will have their chances of survival raised thanks to a new release pond built in collaboration between Environment Agency Wales and Hamdden.

The new pond has been constructed on Hamdden’s land at Llyn Brenig, near Cerrigydrudion. Research on release methods for smolts clearly shows that the young salmon benefit from such schemes which allow them to become accustomed to the river’s natural flows and fluctuating water levels before final release. Salmon parr are transferred from the Agency’s Maerdy Hatchery at Corwen, Denbighshire into a large “pond” which lies at the side of the river but is enclosed by grids to prevent the fish escaping. Within two to three weeks the parr become smolts, and after a total of four weeks the grids are removed to allow the smolts to begin their journey to the sea.

Every year the Agency in Wales releases about 20,000 salmon smolts into the River Dee. Over the last three years considerable resources have been put into building release ponds, but suitable sites are few and far between. Richard Brassington, the Agency’s North Wales Fisheries Management Team Leader, said: “Thanks to Hamdden’s co-operation, the Agency has been allowed to construct this excellent pond at Llyn Brenig. This facility is an important aid to increasing salmon stocks on the Dee.”

Stocking will take place at Llyn Brenig on Wednesday, 16 February. If you wish to attend please meet at 14:00 hours prompt at Maerdy Hatchery, Corwen from where the salmon parr will begin their journey to the new pond. If you wish to attend please contact the Public Affairs department for directions.

Photographs of the transfer and stocking at the new pond will also be available from the Public Affairs department from Thursday, 17 February. Please contact the Public Affairs department if you require photos.

News contact: Kathryn Corcoran (01222) 770088.