Exciting news from Lochinver – herring are back!

In October/November 2022, a large school of whitebait (immature fish) was spotted in Lochinver Bay, attracting an amazing number of feeding birds and seals. With the help of the community (including the pie shop who packed them), Andy, the Assynt ranger, was able to send a sub-sample to the WOSHH team to find out if any of the fish were juvenile herring, as had been suspected by the locals – AND RIGHT THEY WERE! This is the first time juvenile herring have been spotted in the area in nearly 50 years.  

Edinburgh Napier University/Marine Scotland Science PhD student Tully Osmond, studying fish parasites and food web structure, is trained in whitebait identification and analysed the samples with WOSHH researcher Dr Michelle Frost. See below pictures from their lab work. 

The sub-sample was mostly sprat, but about 1/3 were likely herring
Whitebait: top fish is sprat, bottom is juvenile herring