A view of the Mawddach Estuary on a clear spring day with woodland lining the shores.
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With the help of the Park Authority’s Wardening team, pupils from Ysgol O M Edwards in Llanuwchllyn near Bala will be given the opportunity to learn about the life cycle of trout by overseeing their development from fertilized eggs to small fry in a special fish hatchery.

As the National Park Authority’s contribution to the LIFE Dee River project, Wardens based at Llyn Tegid will work in collaboration with Ysgol O M Edwards to establish a temporary hatchery in the school. By establishing the hatchery and caring for the fish eggs as they develop into fry, pupils will learn first hand about the life cycle of fish and river ecology.

As well as the school hatchery, the Wardens will oversee another hatchery at their centre on the shore of Llyn Tegid. From there they will monitor the condition of the eggs and prepare video diaries at key stages in their development. These video diaries can be viewed on the hatchery project’s webpage on the Park Authority’s website as well as the Park Authority’s You Tube channel. But followers will not have to wait for each video diary instalment to see the eggs hatching and developing as there will be a live stream from the hatchery, so children and people from all over the world can tune in to watch the fish as they develop.

After hatching, the fry will remain in the hatchery until they have grown large enough to survive in the Afon Twrch, a tributary of the River Dee near Llanuwchllyn. Although around 100 eggs will be placed in each tank, unfortunately not all are expected to survive as some eggs will naturally fail, and some fish will be subject to disease testing before the remainder of the shoal can be released into the river in order to protect the native wild stock of brown trout.

Arwel Morris, Llyn Tegid and Area Warden said:

“Through hands-on learning about the life cycle of brown trout – from preparing the hatchery, introducing the eggs and looking after them until their release into Afon Twrch, we hope that the experience will spark an interest in the riverine environment and the natural world in general, and an eagerness to protect it.”

Joel Rees-Jones, LIFE Dee River Project Manager said:

“Following the success of the classroom hatchery last winter, we are incredibly pleased that Eryri National Park are running this again. Giving school children the opportunity to see trout eggs developing and hatching in their classroom or online is a fantastic way for them to connect with their local river.”

The LIFE Dee River project has been working across the Dee catchment to remove barriers and improve the habitat in the river for the benefit of a wide range of species including salmon, lamprey and trout. Giving kids the opportunity to see what is normally hidden beneath the water’s surface will hopefully ensure they protect their local river in the future. Huge thanks to Richard Simpson at Chirk Trout Farm for assisting with the project ”

Mr Siôn Tudur Jones of Ysgol O M Edwards, Llanuwchllyn said:

“We’re thankful and excited to be part of the trout hatchery project. It’s a fantastic opportunity for pupils to learn about the life cycle of fish as well as being given the responsibility of looking after them. I’m confident that this will encourage our pupils to learn more about wildlife and the environment around them. Following a talk by the Wardens Arwel Morris and Robat Davies, everyone is now eager to see how things will develop in the hatchery over the coming weeks”.

Schools all over the country can benefit from this fantastic project as live footage from the hatchery will be streamed on-line 24 hours a day. A comprehensive education pack full of activities is also available on the project’s webpage, and Natural Resources Wales’ Education Officers will be hosting ‘Life on the River’ online teacher training sessions in January.


Notes to editors

1. The National Park Authority’s Warden Service is leading on the hatchery project as part of its commitment to Natural Resources Wales’ LIFE Dee River project. More information about the aims and objectives of this project can be found here.
2. Two online teacher training sessions have been arranged (one delivered in Welsh and the other in English) on the 25th and 26th of January.
3.For more information or to arrange an interview contact Gwen Aeron Edwards – Planning and Land Management Communications officer on gwen.aeron@eryri.llyw.cymru or 07887452467