Saturday, 5 May 2018

Friday, 4 May 2018

Presentation: SWIRL Conference by Inland Fisheries Ireland

The presentation by Inland Fisheries Ireland demonstrates the stock levels as they exist today. Unfortunately there has been a steady decline in stocks post 2007 as indicated by the counter network across the country.
It is not a very encouraging situation and is compounded by many factors both in-stream, near coastal and oceanic influences. With Ireland's  human population growing aligned with increases in livestock farming and associated habitat compromise we are now really seeing a situation whereby the salmon population may be at risk through our anthropogenic influences. With the proposed expansion of aquaculture our salmon stocks are certainly at a highly increased risk.

One aspect of the presentation showed that we as a nation are still not releasing salmon to the degree of other close at hand countries and our catch and release figures indicate that less than 40% of fish are released.
An interesting statistic is that the average MSW salmon catch is now averaging out at 15% of total catch.
One slight ray of hope is that the counter figures for 2016 and 2017 demonstrate an upward trend which hopefully might herald a somewhat more positive future.

Inland Fisheries Ireland: State of Irish Salmon Stocks

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Conference Presentation: Salmon Watch Ireland 21 April 2018

Here under a recent presentation at the Salmon Watch Conference on 21 April 2018. The main emphasis of this presentation was to highlight the knowledge gained over the recent decades in regard to mortality factors of juvenile salmon. 
  • Marine growth rates varied among years, highest growth rates 2002, followed by 2003 and 2009. Lowest growth rates in 2008 (Very poor returns of 1 SW salmon in 2009 and 2 SW in 2010). 2010 saw a good increase in survival for 1 SW fish.
  • Growth rates during the first period at sea were lowest for salmon of southernmost origin (this would include Ireland). This effectively illustrates that climatic change and altered ocean temperatures are affecting post smolt feeding at entry to ocean and along migration route.
  • Inter-annual variation in wind fields, and thus the surface currents, altered the migration pathways. (Illustrates how important weather patterns in spring are)
  • Likely suspects from headwaters to open ocean to be studied to indicate where mortality occurs
  • Certain areas in ocean where change in migration can be affected to be examined
  • Sharing the resources of the ocean with mackerel, herring and blue whiting as well as pressures from commercial exploitation of these stocks
  • Increased mortality strongly linked to impacts of climate change (++Celcius ), SSC’s and changes in the food supply in the ocean 
The presentation is easy to read and any questions you wish to ask can be directed to Salmon Watch Ireland at 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Salmon Watch Ireland Annual Conference: 21st April 2018 at 1100: Plaza Hotel, Tallagh, Dublin 24

The annual conference hosted by Salmon Watch Ireland on the 21 April 2018 examines the ongoing debate as to whether the wild Atlantic salmon has a future in Ireland. It is an opportunity for all persons interested in this unique fish to engage with those concerned with the management of the resource. There will also be an opportunity to view the remarkable film "Lost at Sea" which should promote a large degree of discussion as to why Atlantic salmon continue to struggle in Ireland and elsewhere. 
This year we have deliberately included a substantial period for discussion where views on how salmon abundance might once again be achieved. This will be an open forum where the views of the audience and panel of speakers on ‘What is to be done’ can be discussed.

Conference agenda

1100 - Opening
1115 - ‘The state of the Irish salmon population’ – Dr Ciaran Byrne, Chief Executive, Inland Fisheries Ireland.

1200 – ‘The drivers of the decline in the salmon population’ -Dr Ken Whelan, Director Research, Atlantic Salmon Trust.

1245 – Lunch and the showing of the documentary film‘Atlantic salmon – Lost at sea’.

1415 – ‘What is to be done’ – Discussion facilitated by Eamon Cusack, Vice President, Institute of Fisheries Management.

1530 – Conclusions – Niall Greene, Chair of the Board, Salmon Watch Ireland.

Eventbrite Tickets Available Here

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Review of Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming in Scotland

This review is a very important element in understanding the impacts of salmon farming in Scotland and is certainly important in the ongoing debate surrounding aquaculture in Ireland. It is a lengthy document but is fairly comprehensive and deserves scrutiny by concerned anglers and conservationists. Scottish Salmon Farming and its Environmental Impacts

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout

Very good review of widespread research on lice from salmon farms and their effect on salmonid stocks. The review deals very well with the few Marine Institute scientific papers which claim that lice are not a significant problem to  migrating smolts. It also deals with the effects on sea trout which are more sensitive throughout their lifecycle at sea from smolt to post smolt to adult trout. It is incumbent on all to help shift government focus away from the narrow field of research conducted by the Marine Institute and to once and for all demonstrate that even their own 1% effect is reflective of a 15 to 20 percent reduction in adult spawners in these times of poor marine survival. Sea Lice Report

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bantry Bay Update

Salmon Watch Ireland received the following updated decisions of the Aquaculture Appeals Board in relation to our objection to a licence granted to Marine Harvest Ireland for Shot Head in Bantry Bay. The report of the Chairman of the Oral Hearing has determined that Marine Harvest Ireland must submit additional information regarding a number of issues highlighted at the oral hearing. This is a decision which is positive and certainly increases the environmental burden of proof which Marine Harvest have to reach if a licence is to be granted. We await these additional Environmental Impact Assessments and Appropriate Assessments and will be stringently defending our position that open net salmon farming is not sustainable or environmentally appropriate.

The main recommendations from the Chairman are as follows:

Further to section 59 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Chair of the Oral Hearing recommends as follows:
Conditional upon the results of the supplemental EIA and desk-top studies recommended immediately below, the Board should issue an aquaculture licence for the Shot Head facility (Ref: T05/555) pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, subject to the conditions identified below.
Before making a determination pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should request a supplemental EIS addressing the following matters:
  • The risk of sea-lice infestation of wild salmonids migrating from/to the  Dromagowlane and Trafask Rivers, and any resulting implications for local freshwater pearl mussel populations, based on available research and data;
  • An assessment of the potential impact of salmon farm waste on water quality, having particular regard to the maintenance of ‘good water status’ as required under the WFD; and
Before making a determination pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should conduct desk-top studies of the following matters, which may indicate the need for supplemental appropriate assessment (AA) screening for such matters:

  • An assessment of the otter population of the Dromagowlane and Trafask catchments, and (if necessary) assessment of potential impacts on otters, including the potential impact of declining wild salmon stocks;
  • The potential impacts upon common seal populations in the Glengarriff Harbour and Woodland SAC; and
  • The potential impacts upon wild birds within nearby SPAs.

·        Before making a determination pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should make every effort to consider the potential impacts of large-scale farmed salmon escapes.

·         If, on the basis of such further information, the Board should decide to grant an aquaculture licence pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should consider the inclusion of appropriate conditions requiring a change to the production schedule in order to protect migrating wild salmon and sea trout smolts, or otherwise to control stocking densities at the time of wild salmonid migration, for example by means of early harvesting of mature salmon.   
·        If, on the basis of such further information, the Board should decide to grant an aquaculture licence pursuant to section 40(4) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997, the Board should include conditions to change the current production limit to one based on a maximum allowable biomass of 2,800 tonnes. (Full Oral Hearing Report)