The Trust expands its Education Programme into Gwynedd

8 July 2014 

Trust expands its education programme into Gwynedd

 The Clwyd, Conwy & Gwynedd Rivers Trust has expanded its educational programme into Gwynedd and has been working with staff and pupils at Ysgol Bontnewydd near Caernarfon on a salmon breeding project.  The programme enabled pupils at the school to follow the process from the laying, fertilising and hatching of the salmon ova and ultimately to the release of the infant salmon into the wild.

The project, carried out in partnership with the Seiont, Gwyrfai & Llyfni Anglers’ Society and Natural Resources Wales, and delivered in Welsh, commenced in early March 2014 when a tank and a quantity of salmon eggs from the NRW hatchery at Maerdy near Corwen were taken to the school by NRW fisheries officers, Richard Pearce and Walter Hanks.  The children were also given a powerpoint presentation about the lifecycle of a salmon that included some of the dangers it must face during its lifetime, such as pollution, netting on the high seas, angling, poaching and natural predation.

Following that, pupils at the school played an active part in the project, checking and controlling water flow and temperature three or four times a day and keeping records under the watchful eye of staff at the school while watching the transformation from egg to alevin and eventually into salmon fry ready for release into the wild.

That big event came at the beginning of July when Richard, Walter, Hefin Hughes from the Seiont, Gwyrfai & Llyfni Anglers’ Society and three teachers took the 46 pupils in years 5 and 6 at the school to the Afon Gwyrfai which flows nearby to release the young salmon.  Each child had a fish to release, many naming them before excitedly watching the fish swimming away and from where they will eventually make their way to the sea, hopefully returning to the river as adult fish in a few years time, this time to breed in the wild.

All the parties involved in the project agreed that it had been a tremendous success and nobody more so than the children who asked all sorts of questions during the project and were sad to see the fish go.  Although the project’s primary purpose was to teach the children about the lifecycle of a salmon it also helped raise their awareness of their local and wider environment.

The Trust is now eager to hear from other Gwynedd schools which would like to take part in the programme next year.

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The 46 pupils from Years 5 and 6 and teachers who went to the river to witness the event. Also in the group photograph is NRW fisheries officer Richard Pearce (left) and Hefin Hughes from the Seiont, Gwyrfai & Llyfni Anglers’ Society (right).

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Some of the pupils from Ysgol Bontnewydd eagerly releasing the salmon fry into the Afon Gwyrfai