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To track Atlantic salmon movements from river to sea and back, millions of salmon have been tagged over the past 50 years as part of scientific international tagging programmes.

Recently, ICES published a co-operative research report documenting 50 years of marine tag recoveries from Atlantic salmon, and marking 2019’s declaration as International Year the Salmon.

Programmes have included tagging of smolts, migrating out from their freshwater nurseries to the sea and their recaptures in high-seas fisheries off Norway and the Faroes, in coastal fisheries around Greenland and upon return to home waters.

Other studies included tagging of adults caught at sea and their subsequent recaptures in home waters in coastal fisheries and by anglers.

“Tagging and related data efforts are crucial as scientists seek to improve understanding of wild Atlantic salmon distribution and migration at sea and the underlying causes of mortality,” said Niall O'Maoileidigh of the Marine Institute.

“This is particularly important given that, despite initiatives that have mitigated some declines, abundance of the species has continued to drop in the last two decades.”

Tagging has included various types of external ‘floy tags’ focusing in the past 20 years on coded wire tags, less than 2mm in length and delicately implanted into the nose cartilage of fish.

This report not only documents the history of these tagging programmes for posterity but also investigates migration patterns, timings, return rates, their changes and patterns.

“Mass marking techniques still provide basic information on survival rates, exploitation rates and migration in general. However, with current technology e-tagging is becoming far more informative, giving rise to information not only of the ‘when and where’ of tagging-releases and recaptures, but also on the movements, routes, depths and behaviours in-between,” O’Maoileidigh added.

Earlier this week Ireland’s first salmon of 2019 was caught and released on New Year’s Day in Co Donegal.

https://yearofthesalmon.org/

Published in Marine Science

#Angling - Only hours after 84 Irish rivers were opened to salmon angling on Tuesday 1 January, the first salmon of 2019 was caught and released on the Lackagh River in Co Donegal.

Michael McCann of Templeard, Derry landed the 5lb fish in the Garden Pool on the Lackagh River at 9.25am yesterday using a single barbless hook, before it was released back into the water.

The fish was also the first salmon caught and released during International Year of the Salmon which takes place throughout 2019.

McCann was one of 22 anglers who were fishing on the Lackagh at the time of the catch. The river is not known for producing the first salmon of the angling season — in 2018, the first was recorded on the River Drowes in Leitrim on 30 January while in 2017 it was caught on the Munster Blackwater in Cork on 1 February.

Congratulating McCann on his catch, Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “We are particularly delighted that the first salmon of 2019 was caught and released in a sustainable manner in Donegal in compliance with the 2019 regulations.

“I would urge anglers to step up their conservation efforts and engage in catch and release angling in 2019. The new year coincides with International Year of the Salmon which aims to raise awareness of some of the challenges facing salmon stocks across the Northern hemisphere.

“Salmon populations have plummeted in recent years with the number of salmon returning to Irish shores decreasing by over 70%, which is very concerning.

“We look forward to promoting this global initiative in Ireland which aims to bring people together to share knowledge, raise awareness and take action on how we can ensure the resilience of salmon in Ireland and across the Northern hemisphere.”

The Lackagh River is open to catch and release fishing during the 2019 season. The regulations for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery for 2019 including the list of open, catch and release and closed rivers can be found on the IFI website.

Published in Angling

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