Hello, my name is Abbie Nye and I am the new Fisheries Intern at GFT, funded by Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership and the Holywood Trust.
I have been given the fantastic opportunity to work with GFT on a 6 month internship, developing my skills in fisheries conservation. Through this blog I hope to give you updates throughout my internship on what I am getting up to and the projects I am working on.
For now, I’ll start with some background on me. For a long time I have had a deep love for the aquatic world, from spending hours floating in the sea in a rubber ring as a child on holiday, to learning to sail and kayak as a member of the Sea Cadet Corps. For many of these years, my interests were based on the exciting activities I could undertake on top of the water, at some point, my interest shifted to the incredible inhabitants beneath the surface. As a result of this, I studied a BSc in Marine biology at the University of Portsmouth and then broadened my range from just marine based studies, by completing an MSc in Freshwater and Marine Ecology at Queen Mary University of London. Both of these experiences have developed my love for the aquatic world, but my MSc studies particularly fostered my interest in fisheries conservation. During my MSc I completed a research project in collaboration with ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and the Wild Trout Trust. The project aimed at identifying if sea trout were newly present in rivers that had recently undergone restoration work. Conducting this project and working with these organisations enabled me to develop an understanding of waterway management and the benefits of river restoration. Since then, I spent time working within the estuaries and wetlands team at ZSL, working on projects within the Thames estuary and its tributaries. During this time, I coordinated ZSLs juvenile European eel monitoring project for 2019, a multi-organisation project working with citizen scientist volunteers across London to monitor the entry of the critically endangered European eel into the Thames catchment. My experiences have increased my desire to work in fisheries conservation and the opportunity to join GFT for 6 months as fisheries intern to further develop my knowledge and skills is one that I am extremely grateful for and what a beautiful part of the world to do it in.
At the beginning of September I made the 6 hour drive from my home in Bedfordshire to Newton Stewart. I have been lucky to gain my first experience of Galloway in mostly good weather, giving me the chance to explore the local area and get settled in. I have now completed my first month as a fisheries intern at GFT and a busy one it has been. I have had the opportunity to get stuck in to electrofishing and habitat surveys, developing my fish netting technique and getting used to working in Galloway’s rugged terrain. I have felt extremely welcome within the fantastic team at GFT and received fantastic support and guidance from all. I am looking forward to spending the next few months working with them.
After the field work whirlwind of the first few weeks I have now begun to look towards the key elements of my role for the next few months. I will be developing an eel project to support monitoring/conservation of the critically endangered European eel within Galloway. I am excited to be able to use my prior knowledge and experience of eel conservation to develop a new project in Galloway. Alongside this, I also hope to develop an education program for schools on the European eel, sharing my enthusiasm for this amazing species and educating Galloways future conservationists on the threats the eel faces and the possible solutions to supporting the population in Galloway. In addition I will also be supporting work on the Black Water of Dee (BWoD) Restoration project (see here), a multi-partner project aimed at improving spawning habitat for Salmon in the BWoD.
I am really looking forward to getting stuck into these projects and continuing to develop my knowledge and skills, learning from the excellent team at GFT and working with Galloway Glens. I will continue to post updates on what I am getting up to throughout my time here.
I would like to thank Galloway Fisheries Trust, Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership and the Holywood Trust for giving me this fantastic opportunity.