Taymouth Hatchery?

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News Update Jan 2001

Plans for the hatchery at Taymouth have now been suspended. With the possible sale of the estate on the cards it would be unwise to continue until new owners are in place. In the mean time the Board is looking at locations in Killiekrankie.

Hatchery Plans

Salmon fishing is an integral part of the local tourist industry. The Taymouth and Bolfracks water has over the last two decades produced 5 year average in excess of 100 salmon and grilse. In 1997 the total was 75 fish ad this year was 34. This decrease is already impacting fishing revenues as well as accommodation. It is thought that this fall is due to floods in 1992 and 1993 washing out redds together with unknown factors at sea.

The main redds on the water are around the Kenmore Bridge and in the tail of the Hotel Pool. This is the first pool in the system and is thus subject to flooding caused by variations in the loch height. This pool is also heavily fished by trout anglers, causing further mortalities to parr. Below the Hotel pool is approximately 2 kilometers of relatively fast water which is unsuitable for spawning, but which is ideal parr habitat. This section is also heavily fished (600 trout rods and 600 salmon rods per annum) causing additional mortalities. There are also redds below the junction of the Tay and the Lyon. While there are good gravels this confluence is very susceptible to floods and water-course changes. There are few remaining burns, most having been converted to land drains. The adult salmon caught and not returned also represent a loss to the system, which should be made good.

The proposed hatchery and rearing building

The proposed hatchery is intended to act as an insurance policy against floods and to make up a short fall in parr caused by mortalities. Holding fish in the hatchery itself represents a risk which should be spread. The hatchery will produce fish for restocking at multiple stages. The borehole will probably supply water at 10oC.

Eyed eggs will be available for scattering after 23 days.

First feed after 44 days.

5 g by approximately August 10g approximately October

The mess inside!

Water Sources

The site has three potential sources of water. Ground water - requires a new borehole. Surface water - Existing piped castle supply taken from Kenmore Hill. Surface water - abstracted water from the River Tay.


The preferred source for hatchery work is ground water. Such water is of a know quality and is pollution free. The new village bore-hole which is approximately 1 mile further up the valley has been producing 27 gallons per second of high quality drinking water for the last month. The water table has dropped an insignificant amount during this test. The proposed site also sits upon alluvial drift. A ground water supply can thus be made available. Groundwater carries a slight penalty in that it will be a different temperature/quality to nature. For ova this disadvantage is outweighed by its' guaranteed quality. Its' consistency also allows better management/forecasting by degree days. Groundwater supply does not require SEPA licence but will require testing.


The Tay, which has constantly high flows is less than 100m from the building. An intake and screens would be required. The very high flows experienced would mean that the engineering would need to be a high standard. There would remain a slight risk from pollution. Since the water will (in the winter) be close to freezing, there would be increased risk of freezing within an unheated hatchery. It is not proposed to use the river supply initially, but this may be reviewed at a latter date.

Burn/Castle Supply

The old Castle water supply is piped to the building. This is hill water, collected by a system of earth and stone tanks. Many of these pipes are heavily rusted. Once the Golf club is closed this supply should be opened up to flush the pipes and to check their integrity. The volume available can be checked at the same time. A sample should also be taken by SEPA for analysis. Note the lethal level for iron is 1mg/l. If this supply can be made available without major works, it would be a valuable source for fry rearing. It should be warmer than groundwater and will thus promote growth. Development of fry would thus be closer to nature. There may also be an element of early imprinting of water quality.

proposed hatchery building

The second building which will be used for the standby generator, borehole and storage.

Water Quality

How much water is required?

Southern Water recommend 227 litres/day/1000 ova

Huet & Sparsholt suggest 720 litres/day/1000 ova (0.5 l/min/1000)

For fry rearing (up to eight months) Sparsholt recommend 17280 l/day/1000 fry (6-12 l/min/1000 fry).

To raise 25,000 fry we will need a minimum of 25x17280=432,000 l/day (300 l/minute) For future expansion and to dilute "pollution" it is suggested that the water capacity be set at 600 l/minute from the outset.

The building has an estimated ultimate capacity of 250,000 ova and 120,000 fry, which would use 1,500 l/ minute. This figure should be borne in mind during construction. Water is running at 10oC with no water quality problems. As with any groundwater supply it will be supersaturated with nitrogen and will be low in oxygen. A degassing tower will therefore be required. This will not only remove nitrogen but will ensure 100% oxygen saturation. This should ensure that no further oxygenation is required. In case of emergency a bottled O2 supply will be installed. Bottles will be held in the dry area. A pipe network will run down the west face with connectors set at shoulder level on each pillar of the rearing area.

Water Disposal

There should be little change to water quality from hatchery work. There is no suspended solid and even at outlet there will be good oxygenation. Since the fry to be raised will rarely exceed 10g in size there will no significant suspended solid output. Ideally the water should be disposed of in a soak-away. Thus making the site a closed system and ensuring that there is no risk of disease transfer. There is an existing soak-away to the rear of the building. The total capacity of this soak-away is currently unknown. A short test was conducted with the fire engine. The soak-away took 500 gallons in less than 3 minutes. A second test was run for a period of 2 hours pumping at approximately 200 gallons per minute. The soak-away absorbed this amount with no evidence of back-flushing at the end of the test. This suggests that it is suitable for our purposes.

There is also potential for an overflow running from this soak-away to a deep drain running to the river with an out-fall on the Castle pool by land-drain. This pipe network is in good condition in-spite of its age. It needs a good clean as there is some siltation. Several manhole covers are in need of replacement. There is an existing silt trap before the soak-away. This will be adequate for filtering hatchery water as there is little or no sediment. A new sediment chamber will be installed between the rearing area and the existing sediment trap (final polish). Lattest news - SEPA have asked that a settlement pond be provided as part of the discharge consent. Discharge will then be made to the river rather than to the soakaway.


From the rearing area waste water will be sent to the "Sump" area. This is a 2.2m x 3m room which lies slightly below the main area. It is estimated that the excreta produced by 25,000 15g fry will be less than 2kg per day. At maximum capacity this would increase to 20kg per day. SEPA might allow a direct discharge of this waste into the Tay. Note that there should be no risk of disease from the site, which accept only gamete (adult fish will be stripped offsite). Nevertheless we wish to avoid any risk and would only consider direct discharge under exceptional circumtances (a major flood could theortetically bring the soak-away to capacity). As a last resort discharge water could be sent through a swirl concentrator in the "Sump" area with foul water being routed to the existing Castle sewerage network (garage flats).


There is an existing three-phase supply approximately 20m from the buildings. Three phase power should be delivered to the Dry room (control box and standby generator). Single phase should be delivered to the building. Main building Hatchery no power outlet Rearing Area Deliver via 4 way overhead "waterproof" gangs located on steel roof beams (away from water). Initially only 2 gangs are required on the beam close to the hatchery. Additional gangs will be placed on the 3 remaining girders.

Dry Area

4 power outlets at waist height. Single phase control box and circuit breakers. Three-phase control box. Three-phase delivered to submersible pump. A standby generator (three phase) on automatic cut-over. Lighting Hatchery 2 overhead light sockets (up to 150 watt) with pull down switch (away from water) Rearing Area 2 overhead light sockets per steel girder (total 8) probably 40w. Light switch by internal door to Area Dry Area 2 overhead light sockets, switch by main door.

Sump Area

2 overhead light sockets, switch by entry door (waterproof). Telephone A telephone cable runs down the side of the building. Telephone connection should be made to the Dry area. This will be used for alarms. The header tank level and oxygen level should be alarmed. Mortalities To eye 5% Hatch 5% Alevin 2% Fry 10% (After 12 months)


The site will only ever receive gamete, so there is little risk of incoming disease. The whole building will be shut down in October for cleaning.

Planning Permissions

Permission will be required - at a minimum as change of use to agricultural and has been applied for. There will be few external changes. Ideally the chimney and stairs to the rear of the building should be removed (these are causing damp to get into the structure). Two windows and 2 doors should be bricked up. Lattest news - Planning Permission has now been received,

Future Expansion

Water quantity and discharge capacity are the most significant limitations. Water volume is unknown, but expected to be more than enough for future expansion. Discharge capacity could be increased by putting in a new 50m pipe to the river. Space is the next most important constraint. The Hatchery could probably handle up to 250,000 eggs while inside the rearing area could probably handle 120,000 fry. This could be further expanded to the outside of the building (when risk of freezing is remote) There are existing concrete slabs with adjacent drainage.


Taymouth Castle Estate has agreed to fund operating costs. The Tay Salmon Fisheries Board have agreed to supply a small amount of capital and it is hoped that The Tay Foundation will also assist. Lattest news - A formal request to the Foundation has now been made. It still means that we have to raise some £35,000. Being in the headwaters the hatchery will benefit owners and anglers right down to the estuary.




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