Rare Sparling Caught on Film in Dumfries and Galloway

A documentary filmmaker has captured rarely seen footage of the annual sparling mass spawning event in the river Cree in Dumfries and Galloway as part of a “Saving the Sparling” project.

Galloway Fisheries Trust has been collecting scientific data on the elusive Cree sparling and showing the fish to school children as well as creating a short documentary about the arrival of the sparling to their spawning ground. As part of this project Galloway Fisheries Trust are holding drop in days to collect local knowledge of sparling to ensure the history of the fish in this area is not lost. Short clips of the fish migrating to the spawning grounds and an exhibition about the sparling will be shown at events in Newton Stewart and Gatehouse of Fleet.

The sparling spawns every spring in the Cree, but lives its life in estuary water. It is a small silver fish with a greenish appearance in the water and can be distinguished from other fish by the cucumber-like odour it gives off when out of the water. Data collected by Galloway Fisheries Trust included water temperature, river height and predator checks in preparation for the spawning event that happens only for a few days each year.

Galloway Fisheries Trust sampled 200 sparling to discover the age, sex and body condition of the spawning fish before returning them to the river. Monitoring these aspects give a better understanding of the sparling life cycle and will help the future management of this rare species.

To explain what they have found and show the film clips Galloway Fisheries Trust are inviting anyone interested in the project or who have any memories or stories about the sparling to join them on 13th June in the Belted Galloway, Newton Stewart or 20th June at the Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet. Both venues will be open for people to drop in between 2pm until 6pm when free refreshments will be served and staff will be available to discuss and collect memories of sparling.

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