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Displaying items by tag: Salmon

The hospitality industry and general public alike have been reminded not to purchase illegally caught salmon or sea trout after illicit nets were seized on a fishing boat off Cork last week.

Fisheries protection officers with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) boarded the vessel off the Cork coast last Monday 13 July on which they seized 98kg of salmon and 256 metres of illegal net.

IFI notes that the incident was one of several that took place earlier this month, with similar seizures in Donegal and Mayo.

“The risk of targeted netting of salmon at sea remains the highest priority for our protection staff, who have seized 15 nets in the South Western River Basin region so far this season,” said IFI’s deputy chief executive Dr Greg Forde.

Only salmon or sea trout that have been caught by licensed commercial salmon fishermen may be sold to the public and hospitality industry, and must bear a colour coded green or white gill tag — or for wild imported salmon, a yellow tail tag.

Anglers are prohibited from selling any salmon or sea trout caught by rod and line. In addition, rod-caught salmon must have a blue tag affixed, IFI added.

Fisheries officers carry out regular inspections of premises to deter the illegal trade of salmon and sea trout. Reports of suspected illegal activity can also be made directly to IFI staff or on the confidential hotline at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it has recently received reports that individual fresh-run wild salmon have been encountered in the River Leannan, Co Donegal and River Corrib in Co Galway displaying suspected signs of red skin disease (RSD).

Low incidences of this disease were first documented in 2019 in several European salmon stocks. In the past few weeks, suspected cases have again been reported in small numbers of returning salmon in Denmark, Norway and Scotland.

In Ireland last year, suspected incidences of RSD were reported in 56 salmon from 17 rivers throughout the country. The majority of these reports were in June and July with only single 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.

Within the operational constraints imposed by the Covid-19 National Public Health Emergency, 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.

As part of this, where practicable, 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.

Anglers 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.

Dr Paddy Gargan, senior research officer at IFI, said: “We are asking anglers and fishery owners to remain vigilant and report any catches of salmon with signs of this disease to us as soon as possible within the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 National Public Health Emergency.”

Anglers are asked to forward any reports of salmon with signs of RSD along with photographs and an estimate of fish weight to [email protected] or call IFI’s 24 hour confidential hotline number on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

Published in Angling

The first catch and release salmon of 2020 has been caught on the River Drowes in Co. Leitrim according to Inland Fisheries Ireland. Nash Mc Daid, of Ballybofey, Donegal landed the first catch and release salmon at the “point of the meadow” on the River Drowes at 2.45pm, Friday the 14th of February. The salmon, which weighed approximately 12 pounds, was caught on a Red Flying C before being released into the water. 

In 2019, the first salmon was recorded on the Lackagh River in Donegal on the 1st of January and in 2018, the first salmon was recorded on the River Drowes in Leitrim on the 30th of January. This year the first salmon caught was in Waterville in Kerry on January 25th. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland awarded €250 prize money to the angler for the first catch and release salmon of the New Year. The prize was only eligible for the release of the first salmon which was handled correctly and verified by Fisheries Officers.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “I would like to congratulate Nash Mc Daid, on the first catch and release salmon of 2020. I would urge anglers to step up their conservation efforts and engage in catch & release angling in 2020. Last year we celebrated the International Year of the Salmon and its main aim was to raise awareness of the many 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 per cent, which is very concerning. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all anglers in 2020 to ensure their own personal contribution to the conservation of salmon by practising catch and release fishing. Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue to support salmon conservation through research, protection, habitat conservation and development of our precious resource.” 

The River Drowes is open for fishing during the 2020 season. The regulations for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery for 2020 including the list of open, catch and release and closed rivers can be found at: https://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Salmon-Regulations/salmon-regulations.html#tab2.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is also inviting the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource during the year by reporting incidents to its confidential hotline number 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Angling
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The route taken by young salmon (smolts) leaving the east coast of Ireland has been discovered for the first time. Inland Fisheries Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute have revealed findings which show young salmon leaving rivers on the eastern coast travelling northwards to leave the Irish Sea, rather than south and west to join salmon on the western coast. The research was carried out as part of the COMPASS project and funded by the EU European Regional Development Fund's Interreg VA programme.

The new evidence was established after researchers tagged salmon smolts with coded transmitting acoustic tags in the Castletown and Boyne rivers in County Louth during the spring of this year. Three of these tagged salmon were picked up on listening devices in the coastal seas as they travelled northwards out of the Irish Sea towards the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the smolts was recorded in Scottish waters, some 80 kilometres north of the Inishowen Peninsula. This smolt had travelled an estimated 250 kilometres in just over a month, one of the longest distances recorded for a salmon tracked at sea en route to its feeding grounds in the North Atlantic. Two more salmon smolts were tracked as far as receivers located off the Northern Ireland coast, further confirming the northward migration of the fish through the Irish Sea. 

A salmon smoltA salmon smolt

Until now, it was unknown if juvenile salmon leaving Ireland’s east coast rivers headed around the North or South coasts to get to their oceanic feeding grounds. These first three tracked fish took a northward route from rivers on the east coast to exit the Irish Sea. These salmon also moved offshore quickly, behaving very differently from sea trout, which remained closer to their spawning rivers and swam closer to the coast and river mouths.

The tagging work was carried out by scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland (Dr James Barry) and AFBI (Dr Richard Kennedy) who tagged and analysed the movements of 130 salmon smolts as they left their rivers of birth in the spring of 2019. This work was supported by a local angling clubs, including The Dundalk and District Brown trout and Salmon Anglers, who helped to install fish traps which enabled the tagging and release of fish. A network of acoustic receivers were moored to the seabed along the coast from Drogheda to the northeast coast by researchers from IFI and AFBI, to track the tiny acoustic transmitters in the salmon as they migrated from the rivers to the open ocean.

This research is just one element of the COMPASS (Collaborative Oceanography and Monitoring for Protected Areas and Species) project, a transnational initiative which focuses on the coastal seas between Ireland and western Scotland. The project aims to deliver improved cross border environmental monitoring programmes, including research to support highly mobile protected species such as marine mammals, salmon and sea trout. This particular research package is investigating the success of wild salmon and sea trout as they migrate from river to sea, and examining where they travel to and how many of them survive before returning to Ireland to reproduce.

Commenting on the findings, Dr William Roche, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “As salmon populations are in decline across the northern hemisphere, we urgently need to establish their migration journey and identify any issues which may be negatively impacting survival along that route. This research marks an exciting milestone and it will play a critical role in supporting marine conservation efforts.”

Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Salmon hatch in their native river, spend their juvenile life feeding in freshwater and prepare for their long sea migration before returning as adults, usually one year later to mate in their native river. Genetic analysis has shown this loyalty to their native river which can be traced back to the Ice Age.

The COMPASS project has for the first time identified the northward migration route of young salmon from some of Ireland’s east coast rivers, as they start their epic and dangerous journey to their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic Sea. Research results like these offer insights which will enable policymakers and managers to focus actions aimed at the protection and conservation of Ireland’s iconic salmon stocks, which have suffered considerable decline over the past decades. Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue in its research efforts, nationally and internationally, to support the conservation of our salmon stocks which are threatened by current and increasing threats posed by a changing environment.”

Dr Robert Rosell, Principal Scientific Officer for freshwater fish at AFBI said: These observations are an exciting first for long-distance tracking of individual young salmon at sea. We are now in a position to carry out follow up studies to find out much more. These results will optimise the placement of further detection equipment and add information, for instance on survival rates, for further releases of tagged fish. Now that we know where to look, advancing technology and longer battery life tags may soon give us not just the outward journey, but also detail of the routes taken by adult fish coming back to spawn.

Published in Angling
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Licences for salmon and sea trout angling for the 2020 season can now be purchased online along with log books and gill tags, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced.

Licence fees remain the same across all classes including those for juvenile anglers. An annual licence covering all districts costs €100 (€10 for juveniles under 18 years), while licences for single districts are €56 for the year, €40 for 21 days and €20 for a single day. Licences for the Foyle Area Extension are €80.

Anglers are legally required to be in possession of a licence when fishing for salmon or sea trout.

Licences should be purchased online by next Wednesday 18 of December to allow time for delivery before Christmas and the New Year. IFI cannot guarantee dispatch in advance of the holidays due to postage deadlines.

Online licences can also be acquired directly from your local IFI office or approved online licence sales distributors.

Angling licences other than online sales will be available to purchase in approved licence sales distributors from the end of December or early January.

IFI also reminds all salmon and sea trout anglers to return their 2019 angling logbook and unused gill tags as soon as possible, even if there is no catch recorded.

These returns will provide vital information regarding the status and management of our wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks for the future.

Anglers are asked to use the business return envelope which was supplied at the time of license purchase. In the absence of the prepaid return envelope, anglers can return their completed logbook and unused tags to the IFI office address on their licence/logbook.

Published in Angling

Campaigners against salmon farms have raised concerns over the state of Irish wrasse stocks after it was confirmed the fish have been taken en masse to help clean lice from farmed salmon.

As Donegal News reports, a number of salmon farms in Donegal, Galway and other areas owned by Mowi — the former Marine Harvest — have between them moved in tonnes of wild wrasse, a known ‘cleaner fish’ that feeds on sea lice, over the past four years.

Responding to a Dáil debate question from Catherine Connolly TD this past summer, Marine Minister Michael Creed confirmed that “several special of cleaner fish are used in Ireland as a method of controlling sea lice”.

But there are fears that the mass withdrawal of wrasse and other such species from the wild could tip the balance of Ireland’s delicate marine ecosystem.

“The absence of wild wrasse in bays may result in stress and disease in other large species of fish which rely on wrasse to keep them clean of parasites,” said Billy Smyth, chair of Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.

Donegal News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

Collective work between scientists and the angling community for the survival of salmon in the cross-border catchments of Foyle and Carlingford was to the fore at the recent conference in Omagh hosted by the Loughs Agency.

Stark warnings over the decline of the species were heard along with presentations from the likes of Dr Diego Del Villar, who discussed the new SeaMonitor project that is currently studying the seas around Ireland, Northern Ireland and western Scotland, and will in time help produce a salmon management plan for the River Foyle.

The Loughs Agency says it will soon launch a public consultation to gauge the views of the public in managing the salmon fishery.

John McCartney, Loughs Agency director of conservation and protection, said: “We value the input and opinion of the public when reviewing our salmon management programme. I would encourage everyone take time to consider and respond to the questions.”

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency is teaming up with the Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA) to host an evening salmon conference in Omagh, Co Tyrone next month.

Our Foyle Salmon – The Upstream Battle at the Mellon Country Inn from 7pm on Wednesday 25 September will hear from speakers on a range of issues including the status of salmon in the River Foyle, current research, threats and steps that can be taken to sustain and protect the species.

This is a fully ticketed event; tickets are free and available through Eventbrite with a maximum of two tickets per transaction.

When registering for tickets you can also submit a question to the panel for the Q&A session at the conference.

Published in Angling

A small number of salmon are returning to Irish rivers with signs of bleeding and skin ulceration, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland. This follows reports of salmon also returning to Norway and Scotland with a red rash skin disease in recent months. Anglers and fishery owners are asked to report incidences of salmon with rash like symptom to Inland Fisheries Ireland to help determine the scale of the problem nationally.

Salmon first began appearing in Irish rivers with these symptoms in early June and by mid-June, there were reports of fish with ulceration in at least six rivers, both on the east and west coast of Ireland. The salmon who are affected show signs of bleeding, ulceration and haemorrhaging mainly along the area on the belly of the fish and on the head and the tail. Secondary fungal infection normally sets in and may result in death of the salmon.  

"Inland Fisheries Ireland appeals to anglers and fishery owners to report incidences of affected salmon"

Inland Fisheries Ireland is working with the Fish Health Unit in the Marine Institute to sample live salmon in affected rivers to determine the cause of the skin disease. 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. Any anglers who capture salmon with these symptoms are advised to follow normal biosecurity procedures and disinfect tackle, waders and equipment. 

Dr Paddy Gargan, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “It is unclear at this time what is causing these symptoms. There is some evidence that the disease may become less frequent with rising water temperatures and the problem has been worst in multi-sea-winter fish entering rivers early in the year in Norway and Sweden. There is also a suggestion that the disease is related to a change in salmon diet but this has not yet been established. We are asking anglers and fishery owners to report any catches of salmon with these symptoms to us as soon as possible”.

Published in Angling
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Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries resource, visited the River Erriff in Co Mayo recently to understand more about the current issues facing Ireland’s salmon.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has designated the River Erriff, one of Ireland's premier salmon and sea trout fisheries, as the National Salmonid Index Catchment.

Salmon and sea trout migrating upstream in the Erriff must pass through fish counting and trapping facilities located at Aasleagh Falls, where the Erriff flows into Killary Harbour.

Since 1985, salmon and sea trout smolts and kelts migrating downstream pass through a trap located below Tawnyard Lough.

The facilities at this research station are used for a wide range of scientific research and monitoring activities on the salmonid populations and their migratory behaviour.

Minister Canney met with Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, who outlined that fisheries managers and scientists have been concerned for a number of years about the declining numbers of salmon returning to the Irish coast — a key concern in this International Year of the Salmon.

In the mid-1970s, almost 1.7 million salmon were estimated to have returned to Ireland, compared to only some 250,000 today.

Salmon are a key indicator species and they tell us so much about the health of our aquatic environment, IFI says.

And the issue is not unique to Ireland, as populations over the entire southern part of the North East Atlantic — which includes France, Spain, England, Scotland and southern Iceland — have declined significantly in the past number of decades.

Following the visit, Minister Canney commented: “Salmon are an iconic fish species in Ireland. They have always had a special place in Irish culture, heritage and mythology with stories such as the ‘Salmon of Knowledge’ familiar to generations of our school children.

“While they are widely distributed throughout Irish river systems, with over 140 designated salmon rivers, the numbers of salmon returning to Irish rivers, in common with salmon rivers internationally, have shown a worrying decline in recent decades.

“Today they remain an important resource to many people, playing an invaluable ecological, social and cultural role in Ireland and across the Northern Hemisphere.

“International Year of the Salmon offers us an opportunity to start an important conversation around how we can protect, conserve and restore salmon populations in Irish and international waters and how we can inspire action.

“I am delighted to see the excellent research facility here in the Erriff. I am assured that the ongoing scientific research by IFI adds to our understanding of the issues facing salmon and will inform Ireland’s position as part of the EU delegation in discussions which will shortly take place at Nasco — the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation — on this important topic.”

Published in Marine Science
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