Salmon fisheries study

 

ANGLING NOTES:THE OCEAN Silver conference in London last month drew an audience of just under 200 delegates from Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and Canada.

The main objective of the conference was to discuss the implications of the recently completed Salsea-Merge (Salmon at Sea) research programme for management of salmon fisheries.

One of the highlights of the day was BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman’s live interview with the Atlantic Salmon Trust’s research director Prof Ken Whelan. The event was organised by the trust and co-hosted by the Fishmongers’ Company and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (Nasco).

Several speakers emphasised the need to seize opportunities to extend research on the marine life of salmon by making use of the pelagic fish surveys which take place year-on-year.

“The by-catch from pelagic fisheries has an impact on the numbers of salmon which die at sea. If we assume there are three million salmon in the North Atlantic, if we can protect even a small fraction of these by minimising the impact of pelagic fisheries by getting fishermen to lower the depth at which they trawl – that would be a job well done,” Whelan said.

AST chief executive Tony Andrews said: “The conference was a fitting end of the sampling stage of the EU’s innovative Salsea project. The ultimate measure is more healthy smolts going to sea with a high proportion returning as adult fish.”

In today’s world of competitive speycasting, Ruairi Costello from East Clare and Gerard Downey from Co Mayo have taken the sport to a higher level. The two casters have developed a new “Advanced Incline Speycasting Technique” and are now official International Casting Sport Federation (ICSF) world champions.

Costello’s categories involve spey and overhead disciplines, and single-hand trout casting, during which he broke the five weight world record in Japan in October.

Downey, on the other hand, is the official world champion in the 15-foot class and broke his own world record in the 18-foot class with a distance of 70.63m at the Country Landowners’ Association (CLA) Game Fair last July.

Their achievements are even more remarkable given that most of their competitors have casting bodies that place a big emphasis on promoting the sport. “The Carron Rod Case Company in Scotland has financially helped the two west of Ireland world champions for a number of years,” according to James Chalmers.

The Loughs Agency has made available the 2010 Status Reports on-line. The reports provide a review of fisheries and management measures implemented within the freshwater catchments of the Foyle and Carlingford areas. Their primary aim is to disseminate catchment information to all interested stakeholders and provide summary data within specific catchments.

To access reports, see Conservation and Protection publication section or general@loughs-agency.org.

The Third International Pike Competition and Pike World Cup Boat Angling Tournament will take place from April 18th to 20th next on Lough Ree in Co Westmeath.

The angler with the biggest pike is guaranteed €3,000 and entry fees will be returned in prize money with daily and overall prizes. Entry fee this year will be reduced to €100 per angler for all three days or €40 per day.

In 2010 the competition attracted 55 anglers and that figure increased to 120 last year. The aim this year is to attract 180 and so boost the prize fund to €21,000.

“We have made changes, especially when it comes to handling and photographing fish,” according to Dave Haughton. Contact dave@activeirishbreaks.com.

angling@irishtimes.com