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SAlmonid Management ARound the CHannel (SAMARCH)

SAMARCH (SAlmonid Management ARound the CHannel) is an €8.7 million six-year project (running from 2017–2023) part funded through the European Union’s Interreg Channel VA Programme receiving €6.061 million in grant

Partner organisations in England and France are collaborating in the SAMARCH project to deliver a strategy to manage and protect salmonid fish (Atlantic salmon and sea trout) in the coastal seas and estuarine waters (so-called 'transitional waters') of the Channel/Manche geographic area; full details of the broader project aims and objectives can be found here. The project focuses on understanding the movement and threats faced by migratory salmonid fish in the rivers, estuaries and coastal waters of southern Britain and northern France. A central focus of the project is to develop a framework to manage, protect and conserve populations of these culturally and economically important migratory fish species which link marine, coastal and freshwater resources, which –in many instances– are currently managed separately.

The 10 SAMARCH project partners are:-


  • Lead Partner : Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust 
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Bournemouth 
  • Environment Agency 
  • Salmon and Trout Conservation
  • Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement
  • I’Institut national d’enseignement superieur pour I’agriculture, I’alimentation et l’environnement (l’Institut Agro)
  • Bretagne Grands Migrateurs
  • Office Francais De La Biodiversity
  • Seine-Normandie Migrateurs

The component of the SAMARCH project being undertaken at Exeter aims to study the marine movements of sea trout (Salmo trutta L.) in southern Britain using molecular genetic analysis of trout (Workpackage 2). In collaboration with the INRAe fisheries science group, Rennes, we are using panels of SNP loci obtained by genome screening of individual trout sampled from many populations across the region. Key aims of the work carried out by our group are to: 

  • Construct a SNP-based genetic baseline for brown trout populations from across southern Britain
  • Undertake initial testing of the baseline by assigning rod and net-caught sea trout
  • Assign marine-caught sea trout to natal rivers

The full range of rivers from which resident trout have been sampled to date in the SAMARCH project can be seen on the interactive map. Genetic characterisation of these fish is on-going, but as been delayed by interuptions ot laboratory working due to Covid-19.

A recent study exploring genetic diversity in the many small populations of trout inhabiting the small coastal streams which are typical on both sides of the Channel in the west of the Channel region can be found here.

A popular science article focusing on this and other research by the Exeter genetics group, and which is suitable for a general audience, is presented in the magazine of the Wild Trout Trust, 'SALMO TRUTTA'. 


SAMARCH Project Publications (Exeter)

King RA, Toms S and Stevens JR (2023) Evaluating the importance of accurate sex ratios on egg deposition targets and conservation limit compliance for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in the River Tamar, southwest England.  Fisheries Management & Ecology, 30: 161–170. 

Tréhin, C., Rivot, E., Santanbien, V., Patin, R., Gregory, S. D., Lamireau, L., Marchand, F., Beaumont, W. R. C., Scott, L. J., Hillman, R., Besnard, A.-L., Boisson, P.-Y., Meslier, L., King, R. A., Stevens, J. R. and Nevoux, M. (2023). A multi-population approach supports common patterns in marine growth and maturation decision in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) from southern Europe. Journal of Fish Biology, 1–14.

Osmond, D.R., King, R.A., Stockley, B., Launey, S. and Stevens, J.R. (2023). A low-density single nucleotide polymorphism panel for brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) suitable for exploring genetic diversity at a range of spatial scales. Journal of Fish Biology, 102: 256–270. 

King, R.A. and Stevens, J.R. (2021) Development of SNP markers derived from RAD sequencing for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) inhabiting the rivers of southern England. Conservation Genetics Resources, 13: 369-373.

King, R.A., Stevens, J.R. (2020) An improved genetic sex test for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Conservation Genetics Resources 12, 191–193.   

King RA, Stockley B and Stevens JR. (2020) Small coastal streams—Critical reservoirs of genetic diversity for trout (Salmo trutta L.) in the face of increasing anthropogenic stressors. Ecology and Evolution 00, 1–19.

Paris, J. R.,  Sherman, K. D.,  Bell, E.,  Boulenger, C.,  Delord, C.,  El‐Mahdi, M. B., Fairfield, E. A.,  Griffiths, A. M.,  Gutmann Roberts, C.,  Hedger, R. D.,  Holman, L. E., Hooper, L. H., Humphries, N. E.,  Katsiadaki, I.,  King, R. A. ... and Stevens, J.R. (2018). Understanding and managing fish populations: keeping the toolbox fit for purpose. Journal of Fish Biology  92, 727– 751. 


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