Friday, 14 July 2017

Pink Salmon Ireland 2017

A number of pink salmon have been caught on Ireland's rivers this year with reports that this trend is also happening in some UK rivers and indeed Norway. It is important that all such catches are reported to Inland Fisheries Ireland in order that the distribution and number of these invasive fish can be assessed.


It is expected that further catches may arise this year but as cycle is two years it is anticipated that further catches are unlikely until 2019. The identification is not problematic with the following defining features evident:

  • Large Black Spots on Tail
  • 11-19 Rays on Anal Fin
  • Small scale structure compared to Atlantic salmon
  • No spots on gill covers
  • Humpback appearance Males Spawning
Further information is contained in this leaflet: Fact Sheet Pink Salmon

Fish Counter Data 2016

Fish Counter Data available now at Fish Counter Report 2016


The report shows some interesting figures related to Ireland's latest Atlantic salmon runs. The overall trend appears to be a downward trend with the Kerry region experiencing poor returns especially in later summer months.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Sea Lice Report: Erriff RiverLong Term Study

A long term study by Inland Fisheries Ireland has definitively linked a reduction of up to 50% in returning adult salmon to high levels of lice infestation of farmed salmon in Killary Harbour. This is a real breakthrough in that it is probably the first study to illustrate that fish farming will affect wild salmon returns when lice levels are not managed effectively.

With changing sea water temperatures around Ireland the effectiveness of current protocols are really redundant and the only way to guarantee effective lice management is to surround cages with effective physical and biological barriers. This in effect must be the a system of closed containment. The lice problems are demonstrated to be generally at their worst in the second year of production.

This current year 2017 has demonstrated that weather patterns can cause a multitude of problems with little rainfall causing high salinity levels in bays with warm sunshine elevating sea temperatures which in turn are a recipe for extremely high larval sea lice production.

There needs to be a very serious discussion as to the future of aquaculture and it is essential that wild fish interests are protected.

New technologies are arriving with every passing year but essentially to suit commercial interests. We need a radical re-think by Government on the entire issue and a road map to protect our vulnerable ecosystems.

How great it would be if this industry was effectively run in the interests of wild salmon and sea trout.
We would hope that this report might form the basis of re-visiting of our complaint to the EU.

Further Details:Erriff Report

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sea Trout and Fish Farming: Excellent article and video from Loch Maree

Loch Maree Sea Trout Have A New Champion
Please take the time to read and view the contents of this article. With all our expertise in making wonderful wildlife documentaries in Ireland, surely we can help to investigate our own fish farming enterprises and once and for all expose their harmful effect on sea trout and salmon stocks. Salmon Watch Ireland supports sustainable aquaculture which in our opinion can only be realised by moving to closed containment systems which have a physical and biological barrier from the surrounding environment.

Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) is mounting a concerted campaign aimed at restoring what was formerly the finest sea trout fishery in Scotland. Sea trout stocks in Loch Maree collapsed in 1988, one year after the start of salmon farming in Loch Ewe, the sea loch into which Loch Maree drains via the River Ewe.
Loch Maree – the 4th longest freshwater loch in Scotland and arguably the most beautiful.


Please click on link to read article and view video. Loch Maree Article and Video




Saturday, 11 March 2017

Video Habitat Enhancement

Excellent work carried out on Trimblesown River by the Trim Athboy and District Club. This is a great initiative for salmonid habitat enhancement.

Remarks by Niall Greene to the Salmon Watch Ireland conference at Salthill Hotel, Galway on Saturday 18th February 2017.

Remarks by Niall Greene to the Salmon Watch Ireland conference at Salthill Hotel, Galway on Saturday 18th February 2017.

We have had some interesting and thought provoking presentations here today on the general theme of whether salmon farming can be regulated in a such a way that the industry no longer constitutes a threat to wild salmonids.

Ciaran Byrne has outlined the sorry tale of the decline in our salmon stocks over many decades.  In this we are generally no different than virtually all other salmon jurisdictions in the North Atlantic and it has happened despite the dramatic step taken by the Irish government in banning all salmon exploitation at sea in 2007 and serious efforts to manage our stocks on a river by river basis.

Tony Lowes illustrated very clearly that the negative impacts of salmon are not confined to those on wild salmonids but that under a wide number of headings other parts of our environment are suffering from the side effects of the industry.

Eanna Mulloy has done a masterly job in dissecting the current legislative framework within which salmon farming is supposed to be regulated.  It is clear that it is a shambles and as well illustrated at this week’s hearing in Bantry not in synch with important parts of EU legislation and jurisprudence.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Successful Conference Galway

The annual conference of Salmon Watch Ireland took place on the 18 February in Galway with each of the presenters outlining their perspectives relating to aquaculture and its regulation. The conference was attended by over 70 delegates who represented academics, legal profession, fishery owners and managers, state agencies, anglers and conservationists. 

A number of presentations are available to view at Presentations SWIRL Conference

The Inland Fisheries Presentation will be available at a later date. The presentation was a very concise look at how our salmon stocks are in decline and will be available after publication of a scientific report containing much of the data displayed. Dr. Ciaran Byrne and Dr. Paddy Gargan answered questions related to the presentation in a very open manner. The situation is concerning and despite many gains regarding water quality and huge reductions in exploitation, the situation continues to decline. A small improvement appears to have happened in 2016 but overall trend is downward.

Mr Tony Lowes gave an excellent speech to the conference which looked at the impacts of salmon farming over a wide range of areas from inshore to the wider ocean. The text of the speech which is available at Friends of the Irish Environment.is a very good insight how salmon farming is conducted without much concern for the wider environment. The speech really explains the many difficulties associated with the industry and how sustainability of this industry cannot be really achieved.

Roar Olsen from the Faroes gave an excellent presentation which outlined their regulatory regime which focusses on hard law and penalties for farms which break the levels of sea lice on farms. These range from a large reduction of smolt stocking, mandatory fallowing and early harvest. They also have a policy of rewarding farms which comply by allowing them to increase smolt stocking. Mandatory sea lice inspection by outside authority with fortnightly published results is also a feature with mandatory chemical parameter testing for dissolved oxygen. One trend discovered is the low level of dissolved oxygen on sea bed in their fjords'

Eanna Molloy S.C addressed shortcomings of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 in relation the licensing of aquaculture projects, with particular emphasis on salmon farming.

He dealt with the lack of public information and participation involved in decision making regarding amendments, renewals, and revocation of licenses.  Similar issues arise in relation to public information, participation in decision making, and access to review of decisions regarding new licences where adverse environmental impacts are apprehended.
He also compared the regulatory framework regarding veterinary products and pesticides applying to terrestrial agriculture to that which applies to salmon farming.  There is a perception that there is inadequate oversight of the control and usage of pesticides on salmon farms, compared to the strict supervisory regulation of pesticides and chemicals in land based agriculture.

Dr. Liam Carr gave an excellent talk on his research regarding aquaculture. Primarily his research focuses in on measuring the local knowledge of stakeholder communities in the context of wild and farmed salmon in western Ireland.