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Displaying items by tag: Salmon

TV weather presenter Barra Best learned about the iconic Atlantic salmon from school pupils at the recent virtual Salmon Ambassador conference hosted by the Loughs Agency.

The conference was the culmination of a five-month primary school education programme that encouraged pupils to learn about their local river system.

It included a range of activities and topics such as salmon life cycles, migration, conservation, preservation, restoration and the role of the Loughs Agency.

School pupils also received regular video updates of live salmonids and watched as the eggs developed, hatched and matured to the fry and parr stage of their life cycle.

At the conference, which Barra Best compered, nearly 200 pupils gathered virtually and presented animations, videos, posters and works of art to their fellow Salmon Ambassadors, with each class focusing on a particular life stage.

Pupils highlighted the habitat in which the fish live, the food they eat, the natural threats they face and the impact of human activities and waste on their health and survival.

Loughs Agency CEO Sharon McMahon said: “The children who participated in Salmon Ambassadors are the next generation of environmentalists, anglers, fishery officers, teachers, scientists and caretakers for the natural world.

“I hope that Salmon Ambassadors has inspired them to care passionately about our planet and instilled in them the importance of living in balance with nature.”

The Loughs Agency initiated Salmon Ambassadors as part of the International Year of the Salmon to help connect young people to the incredible fish that inhabits the Foyle and Carlingford river catchments. For more information see the Loughs Agency website HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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TheJournal.ie reports that Ireland’s largest operator of salmon farms has been granted a licence for an 18-pen facility in Bantry Bay.

Nine years ago Afloat.ie noted proposals for the salmon farm at Shot Head, with local campaigners arguing then that Bantry Bay had reached its capacity for aquaculture.

Following a protracted appeals process over several years, Mowi Ireland has now been given the go-ahead to harvest as much as 2,800 of salmon every two years.

However the proposals remain strongly opposed by locals, environmental groups and even State agency Inland Fisheries Ireland, with concerns over the impact of salmon farming on marine biodiversity.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Aquaculture

The latest investigation from TheJournal.ie’s Noteworthy platform looks at the impact of salmon farming on marine biodiversity — and the findings make for sober reading.

Concerns over the impact on wild Atlantic salmon from sea lice and disease in salmon farms, as well as farm escapes that threaten hybridisation, are high on the agenda.

In spite of claims that the State’s monitoring system is “robust” and is “representing best practice”, Ireland received a rating of unsatisfactory from the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) earlier this year.

One study has identified a possible link between reduced salmon runs and high rates of sea lice infestation in salmon aquaculture projects over a 30-year period.

And methods of controlling sea lice have not escaped scrutiny, either, with the practice of harvesting wrasse from sensitive reef habitats to act as ‘cleaner fish’ raising concern.

Meanwhile, it’s emerged that 22 salmon farms in the State have expired licences and are missing environmental assessments required under EU law.

Documents seen by Noteworthy reveal tensions within the Department of the Marine as to its handling of potential licence breaches, which may include discharges of ammonia and phosphates.

The investigation also reveals that the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) issued 11 licences to shoot seals — a protected species — to salmon farms between 2015 and 2020, with at least five seals believed to have been killed as a result. Seal Rescue Ireland argues that there is “no scientific support” for this cull.

Find much more in Noteworthy’s three-part ‘Troubled Waters’ investigation HERE.

Published in Aquaculture
Tagged under

A new study published this month by the scientific journal Nature reveals the marine migration route of Atlantic salmon in the North Atlantic, including Irish salmon.

The study in Nature’s open-access Scientific Reports, led by the Arctic University of Norway, comprises cooperative research study by 10 universities and institutions across Europe, including Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

It involved tagging 204 salmon kelts with satellite tags across seven European countries and the east coast of North America — including salmon from the Barrow, Nore, Suir and Blackwater rivers in Ireland — and tracked them during their oceanic migration.

Salmon travelled to oceanic fronts, but with specific patterns, the study says. Norwegian and Danish salmon rapidly migrate north and north-west toward the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Svalbard. In contrast, Irish salmon migrated primarily westward towards south and east Greenland.

Despite the variation in migration patterns among populations, most individual salmon migrated to polar ocean frontal areas, the study says.

One of the authors of the study, Dr Paddy Gargan of IFI, says: “As we know, water temperatures have increased in the north Atlantic over the last few decades. This new research is suggesting that this type of climate change may have greater impact on salmon populations originating further south, like Ireland.

Patrick Gargan is a senior research officer with Inland Fisheries IrelandPatrick Gargan is a senior research officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland

“This is because distances and time required to travel to feeding areas will increase if the boundary between Atlantic and Arctic waters move northward because of ocean warming.”

The study found that salmon released further south tended to cover longer migration distances, with a straight-line distance tracked as far as 2,400km for one salmon tagged from the River Suir.

Tagged salmon spent 80% of their time foraging at the surface and performed occasional dives of up to 870m.

Overall, populations closest in proximity tended to converge in their oceanic feeding area, but taken together the salmon populations exploit a very large part of the ocean.

Given that Atlantic salmon from different geographic locations feed in distinct areas at sea, they experience different temperature regimes. For example, Irish salmon experienced much warmer temperatures, ranging from 5 to 16°C, than Norwegian and Danish salmon which experienced temperatures ranging from 0 to 11°C.

These differences not only contribute to variation in growth and survival across populations, but also are likely to affect Atlantic salmon populations differently with changing climate.

Map from the study showing that tagged Irish salmon primarily migrated westward towards east GreenlandMap from the study showing that tagged Irish salmon primarily migrated westward towards east Greenland

Southernmost populations, like those of Ireland, are more at risk than northernmost populations as migration distances are likely to become longer, or more variable, thereby decreasing feeding time, with important consequences for the marine survival and productivity of different populations.

Taken together, these findings suggest that a common marine factor responsible for the decline in Atlantic salmon is unlikely. Importantly, this means conservation efforts should be focused locally, such as during the freshwater phase.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research with IFI, explains why the State agency was keen to support the study: “Although the Atlantic salmon is one of the world’s most studied fish, detailed knowledge of its migration route at sea has been limited until now.

“This important large-scale study highlights the vulnerability of salmon populations to climate change and emphasises the need for continued conservation, to protect Atlantic salmon and its habitats.”

The full study — Redefining the oceanic distribution of Atlantic salmon — can be found at Nature.com

Published in Angling

Reports have emerged of wild salmon showing signs of red skin disease in three provinces, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Low incidences of red skin disease (RSD) were first documented in 2019 in several European salmon stocks. In Ireland last year suspected incidences of RSD were reported in 113 salmon from 12 rivers throughout the country.

The majority of these reports were in June and July with only occasional incidences reported prior to and after this time.

Salmon affected by RSD have a characteristic red-spotted rash on their underbelly and may appear lethargic or moribund. The rash can either be localised or extend along some or most the length of the fish.

As the disease progresses, skin lesions, signs of bleeding and skins ulcers can develop primarily along the belly area and extend to the head and tail. Secondary fungal infection can further develop which may ultimately result in death of the salmon.

A salmon from the River Corrib showing early signs of the disease in 2019 | Credit: IFIA salmon from the River Corrib showing early signs of the disease in 2019 | Credit: IFI

The latest reports involve small numbers of individual fresh-run wild salmon encountered in the River Deel, in the Moy Catchment in Co Mayo and in the River Boyne.

IFI staff are continuing to liaise with the Fish Health Unit in the Marine Institute and international colleagues to monitor and respond to the situation.

Anglers and fishery owners are asked to report any incidences of salmon with signs of RSD to IFI to help determine the occurrence of the disease nationally.

Fishers who capture such salmon are advised to follow normal biosecurity procedures and disinfect tackle, waders and equipment. Until the cause of the disease has been determined and the risk of spreading the disease established, affected salmon should not be removed from the water.

IFI is appealing to anglers to forward any reports of salmon with signs of RSD along with photographs and an estimate of fish weight to [email protected] or on IFI’s 24-hour confidential hotline number at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

Published in Angling

It could be years before a river at the centre of a recent suspected agricultural pollution incident in Co Tyrone is fully recovered, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The fish kill in the Aughlish River discovered over the May Bank Holiday weekend covered a five-mile stretch of the Northern Ireland waterway between Dromore and Fintona, with reports of thousands of dead brown trout and young salmon to the Loughs Agency.

Omagh Anglers secretary Terry Smithson said the incident was “devastating”. He estimated that five years of salmon stock had been lost and it could be as many as three years before the waterway recovers.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency says it shares its stakeholders’ concerns about the impact of cormorants predating on juvenile salmon during the annual smolt migration.

Unlike other salmon predators, cormorants are a protected species under Article 4 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.

Given the legal protection of this marine wildlife species, the management and population surveys are the responsibility of the Wildlife Section of the Biodiversity and Conservation Science Unit, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and their counterparts in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Angling clubs and fishery managers in Northern Ireland should be aware of the process to apply for the appropriate licence to assist in managing these birds and other actions, including scaring the birds to move them on, after agreement with wildlife officers from NIEA.

The NIEA advises that under Article 18 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, an application can only be legally processed if it can be shown that:

  • There is no other satisfactory solution, and;
  • The licence is issued to prevent serious damage to a fishery.
Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) recently secured two separate convictions for illegal netting of salmon on the Barrow and Nore rivers respectively.

At a sitting of Kilkenny District Court on Tuesday 23 February 2021, Richie Lennon of New Ross, Co Wexford was fined €300 together with a €500 contribution towards costs following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Lennon pleaded guilty to the offences of illegal netting, the possession/control of four salmon and the refusal to give the name and address of another person when lawfully demanded.

The breaches of fisheries legislation occurred on 22 July 2020 on the River Barrow near Bauck in Co Carlow.

IFI fisheries officers outlined the facts of the case to the court and how Lennon had been observed in the act of illegal netting on the River Barrow, attempting to capture salmon.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Carthy. Following the conviction, details of a previous prosecution against Lennon which had been dealt with at Wexford District Court on 15 April 2014 when the Probation Act had been applied was identified.

Judge Carthy made it clear to Lennon that if he appears in court again on similar offences, she will consider a prison sentence.

‘On the River Barrow and the River Nore, salmon stocks are well below their conservation limit and require protection’

On the same day in Kilkenny District Court, Michael Hynes of Ballybeg, Co Waterford was fined €300 together with a €500 contribution after he pleaded guilty to the offences of illegal netting, the possession of seven salmon and the refusal to give the name and address of another person when lawfully demanded.

The breaches of fisheries legislation here occurred on 22 June 2020 on the River Nore, in the townland of Clonamery, Co Kilkenny.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Carthy sitting at Kilkenny District Court. IFI officers outlined the facts of the case to the court that Mr Hynes was apprehended and found to be in possession of seven dead salmon in his vehicle.

Lynda Connor, director of the South Eastern River Basin District at IFI, said: “I would like to commend the fisheries officers’ efforts and continuous commitment to protecting salmon.

“On the River Barrow and the River Nore, salmon stocks are well below their conservation limit and require protection. This type of illegal activity can have devastating effects on future stocks of salmon.

“These two convictions highlight the ongoing issue of illegal netting for salmon and IFI’s zero tolerance of this serious misconduct.”

Published in Angling

While some anglers enjoyed success on the rivers within Foyle and Carlingford in 2020, the Loughs Agency says it continues to take a precautionary approach in line with national and international trends.

The State of the Salmon Report published by the international lead on salmon management, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), highlights the worrying and continuous decline in the populations of the Atlantic salmon.

NASCO states: “It now takes about double the amount of eggs to produce one adult (compared to 1990s) that will return to that same river to spawn — an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle.”

This decline continues to be reflected locally, the Loughs Agency warns, with rivers such as the Finn in Co Donegal failing to reach their conservation targets in 2020 and therefore will continue to operate on a catch and release basis for the 2021 season.

Now the agency is calling on anglers to take steps to ensure sustainability of the fisheries of Foyle and Carlingford. Anglers are encouraged to:

  • Update their catch return and fishing effort regularly throughout the season on the eLicence website. This data is used to help Loughs Agency manage the fishery using real-time data.

  • Keep the Loughs Agency’s 24hr Response Line telephone number +(0) 44 2871 342100 as a contact on their phone and report any concerns directly and promptly. The Loughs Agency relies on reports of illegal fishing and pollution from the public.
  • Practice catch and release. Many anglers already do this, with around 45% of anglers not taking carcass tags when they purchase their licence.

  • Implement biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of invasive species.

  • For the 2021 season, the Loughs Agency is issuing a maximum of one blue tag for the period 1 March to 31 May and/or a maximum two black tags for the period 1 June to 31 October, depending on the type of licence purchased. Tackle shops have been instructed not to issue more than these maximum quantities for the 2021 season.

The rivers Film and Foyle opened this past Monday 1 March, signalling the start of the salmon, sea trout and wild brown trout angling season. However, game, coarse and sea angling is already available in both catchments.

For still water game anglers, Binevenagh Lake opened on 1 February. The lake lies on a basalt plateau that towers over Lough Foyle and its flanking lowlands below with the famed hills of Donegal beyond.

The 3.2 hectare lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout by DAERA Inland Fisheries and successful flies include Bibio and Buzzer patterns.

Fly fishing, spinning and worm fishing are permitted and the fishery has a daily bag limit of four trout per rod. A Loughs Agency game rod licence and a DAERA game angling permit are required to fish this water.

Some private fisheries are also operating and offer fishing for rainbow trout including Ballyheather, Altmore, Birchwood, Cashel, Termon, Oaks, Glenowen, and Duncrun Fishery in the Foyle area. In the Carlingford area, Donaghaguy Reservoir is open for trout fishing. A Loughs Agency game licence and a permit from the relevant fishery are required to fish these waters.

Coarse angling on the Newry Canal (Photo: Loughs Agency)Coarse angling on the Newry Canal | Photo: Loughs Agency

Coarse angling is permitted all year round, but the climate impacts on which species can be targeted. While tench, bream and rudd are active in warmer weather, roach and perch feed in all seasons and make good year round fishing for the coarse angler.

In the Foyle area, coarse fishing is currently available at Aghlisk Lough, Baronscourt Lakes, Enagh Lough, Longvale and Lough Muck near Omagh. In Carlingford, anglers can also fish for roach and perch at Bessbrook, Camlough, Derryleckagh, Drumlough, Greenan Lough, Mill Dam, Milltown Lough and in Newry Canal. A Loughs Agency coarse licence and permission from the relevant fishery owner is required to fish these lakes. In some cases a day ticket must be purchased.

The marine waters in Foyle and Carlingford offer fantastic sea angling with stunning landscapes and seascape backdrops. Flounder, bass, dogfish, dab, rockling, conger, pollock and ray are likely catches for the shore angler.

The Foyle area has over 90 miles of coastline of inlets, beaches, estuaries and rocky shores from which to cast from, while Carlingford offers almost 30 miles of coastline opportunities to fish. No licence is required for sea angling, but if fishing for salmon or sea trout a Loughs Agency game licence is required for the season.

Anglers are reminded to comply with the latest government advice and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. For further information on season dates, licence and permit requirements in the Foyle and Carlingford areas, visit the Loughs Agency website’s angling section HERE.

Published in Angling

The River Drowse’s first specimen salmon in 36 years has been caught and recorded, as Derek Evans writes in The Irish Times.

Seamus O’Neill from Ballyshannon was the lucky angler to lure the 25lb salmon last Monday (2w February) at the Old Sea Pool in the Drowse Salmon Fishery, which lies on the Donegal-Leitrim border.

The last salmon of comparable size caught on the River Drowse was a 35lb 8oz specimen landed in 1985, says the fishery’s proprietor Shane Gallagher — who was nine years old at the time.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
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