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Appeal For Anglers To Report Catches Of ‘Mystery’ Pink Salmon

14th July 2017
Appeal For Anglers To Report Catches Of ‘Mystery’ Pink Salmon

#PinkSalmon - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is appealing to anglers and the public at large to report any catches of pink salmon after number of appearances in recent days.

Catches of the non-native species have been reported on the Foxford Fishery in Co Mayo, the Coolcronan Fishery on the River Moy, the Galway Fishery on the River Corrib, the Cong River on the River Corrib and the Drowes River in Donegal.

The pink salmon, also known as the humpback salmon, originates in the Pacific Ocean where it is the most abundant salmon species.

The migratory species is native to river systems in the northern Pacific and adjacent regions of the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Outside of its native range, the species has established self-sustaining populations in rivers in northern Norway and in the far northwest of Russia.

These populations are believed to have originated from stocking programmes undertaken since the 1950s. In Ireland, there is no license to farm pink salmon.

The appearance of the species in Ireland is of concern to IFI as it may impact Ireland’s own Atlantic salmon species.

The State agency for Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources is now appealing to the public to be vigilant and report catches of pink salmon with a view to helping to establish the extent of its distribution in Irish waters. 

Pink salmon have a number of unique characteristics which are different to Atlantic salmon:

  • Large black oval spots on the tail.
  • 11-19 rays on the anal fin.
  • Very small scales, much smaller than a similarly-sized Atlantic salmon.
  • No dark spots on the gill cover.
  • Upper jaw typically extending beyond the eye.

“The appearance of pink salmon in the West of Ireland is currently a mystery to us,” says Dr Greg Forde, head of Operations at Inland Fisheries Ireland. “It seems unlikely that these fish made a migration due to their small size. 

“We are appealing to the public, and the angling community in particular, to be vigilant and to report any catch of pink salmon to Inland Fisheries Ireland so that we can undertake examination of size, maturity stage and genetic origin. 

“The concern is that when angling, anglers are only exploiting about 15% of the salmon stock so there are likely to be several more of these fish in rivers.”

Reports – which should record the date and location of capture, the length and weight of the fish, and a photograph of the specimen – can be made to IFI’s 24 hour confidential hotline number at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

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