Our Head of Fisheries and River Management Bruce Stockley has co-authored a paper on the human impact on trout genetics in small streams in Cornwall.

Talking about the research, he said: “This paper shows that, as always, the devil is in the detail. 

“Big rivers and big fish are often the subject of salmonid studies, but delving into small Cornish streams shows a rich and complex evolutionary history. 

“Exeter University and Westcountry Rivers Trust have been working together for over a decade to discover the intricacies of trout populations and this paper shows how historic human activities as well as current barriers to fish migration are impacting on the current genetic health of wild Cornish trout.”

Bruce reiterated that as always the research we work on is driven by potential management actions that come from that effort.

“Whilst barriers to fish passage are often thought of as being of greatest importance for salmon, in the long run they are just as much of an issue for trout, even where there is an apparent sustainable resident population of brown trout,” he added.

This study indicates that the genetic health of these trout populations trapped behind culverts and barriers will worsen in the future if these problems are not addressed.  

For our charity, this means we will redouble our efforts to remove culverts across the rivers and small streams of Cornwall.  

Read the full paper via: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.6306