#MarineScience - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has officially opened a new laboratory at its research facility on its National Index Sea Trout Catchment (River Erriff) at Aasleagh Lodge in Leenane, Co Galway.
IFI says it will continue to invest resources in the Erriff research station, as the outputs from research conducted here will be vital for the future conservation and management of sea trout.
International sea trout expert Dr Graeme Harris, who gave the keynote address at the launch, congratulated IFI on its renewed focus on sea trout and emphasised the importance of world class science on this iconic species.
While research and data collection on both salmon and sea trout has taken place at the Erriff research facilities for over 30 years, a significant new research programme was initiated at the Erriff in 2014.
This new study, which saw the release of sea trout fitted with acoustic tags to sea, aims to investigate migration, distribution, habitat usage and survival of sea trout and salmon smolts in the marine environment on the west coast of Ireland.
Speaking at the launch, IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said his organisation "is committed to applied scientific research that is designed to answer important conservation and management questions.
"We have prioritised research on sea trout and are fortunate to have these excellent facilities at this location. We rely on excellent data and scientific analysis which informs future management decisions.”
The Erriff fishery is located at the head of Killary Harbour near the village of Leenane in Connemara. The fishery was purchased by the Irish State from Lord Brabourne in 1982 and has since operated as a salmon and sea trout angling and research fishery.
The river has a large lake in its headwaters, Tawnyard Lough, and a downstream fish trap has operated at the lake exit since 1983. This facility allows assessment of sea trout stocks on an annual basis.