Angling Notes: Concern as 65 farmed salmon caught in five rivers

The affected rivers are Delphi, Erriff, Kylemore/Dawros, Newport and Bunowen

INLAND Fisheries Ireland (IFI) can confirm that 65 farmed salmon have been caught in five rivers in Galway and Mayo. The affected rivers are Delphi, Erriff, Kylemore/Dawros, Newport and Bunowen.

Concerns regarding salmon farm management and oversight have also heightened as, at this point, no escapes have been reported to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (the licensing authority).

Salmon farm owners are obliged, as one of the conditions of the license to operate, to report all escapes to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Department has confirmed to IFI that no such report has been received.

The scale of the escape is not fully understood at this time as the majority of fish were caught by anglers. Fisheries staff are analysing captured fish in an attempt to identify their history and maturity status from which the outcome will assist in understanding the risks to our wild salmon stocks.


Of those examined to date, three males (out of six) were mature on capture and had the potential to spawn in the wild and impact the genetic integrity of native salmon stock.

All fish entering the Erriff are monitored in an upstream trap allowing for the removal of farmed fish. Unfortunately, there are no such trapping facilities available on the other systems, resulting in free access to these catchments.

While fisheries staff continue to monitor the situation it will be extremely difficult to assess the exact numbers of escapees running the river systems without having appropriate information on escapes from any affected farms.

The board of IFI has issued the following statement: “IFI has been charged with the protection of wild Atlantic salmon and continues to have concerns regarding the impacts of fish farms on Ireland’s precious wild fish. The licensing regime and best management practice should provide assurance to the State that controls are in place that safeguard our heritage.

“This does not appear to be the case in this instance. IFI supports sustainable fish farming but cautions against the renewal and/or award of licences where conditions are not being adhered to. The board recommends immediate strict enforcement and audit of existing licence conditions to ensure compliance and ultimately a sustainable resource for all.”

Garda fly-fishing club competition

Garda Trout and Salmon Club member Peter McGuinness (Galway), landed a fine 2.8kg (6lb 3oz) trout on Lough Owel at the final Garda fly-fishing club competition of 2017. The fish was caught on the forestry shore near Tullaghan and was, by far, the heaviest landed by a club member in this year’s competitions. For his efforts, Peter received the Senan P. Finucane Perpetual Cup.

In cool north-westerly winds, 27 anglers landed 39 fish over 35cm (14in).

Top rod for the year was John Donohoe (Dublin), who was presented with the Patsy Doolin Memorial Shield by Michael Doolin at the award dinner in the Greville Arms Hotel, Mullingar.

The winner of the DMA championship was Phil Kavanagh (Meath), and Paul Agnew (Mayo) won the open section competition.

Rush takes honours at Coiste Siamsa

Meanwhile, the 35th Coiste Siamsa open competition went ahead last Sunday on Sheelin with 80 anglers converging on Kilnahard Pier for this popular end-of-season event. Hopes were high as the word was out that trout were ‘moving’ during the week.

However, this rumour failed to materialise and it was back to the ‘chosen few’ to bring in just eight fish. Cathal Rush from Armagh took the honours with a fish of 3lb 12oz, caught at the Orangefields on a Dry CDC.

Ironically, there was less than one ounce between the second and fifth placings, weighing in between 3.05lb and 3.03lb!

Proceeds from the day will be forwarded to the Boyne River Rescue Unit.

Fly-Fishing Fair in Galway Bay Hotel

Don’t miss Ireland’s Fly-Fishing Fair in the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Co Galway on Saturday 11th and Sunday, 12th November.

Visitors have the opportunity to see some of the finest fly dressers practice their art, while champion fly casters will demonstrate on casting techniques and fishing tactics.

The tackle trade will be represented with a range of trade stands, and Mark Bowler, editor of Fly Fishing & Fly Tying, will launch his new book Manual of Fly Fishing.

Experts from Inland Fisheries Ireland, Tom ‘Doc’ Sullivan and Dr Ken Whelan will host talks on angling related topics and the youth fly tying competition will give juniors a chance to show their skills.

National Inshore Fisheries Forum

The Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed recently hosted the 12th meeting of the National Inshore Fisheries Forum. The council, which includes six regional forums, was established in 2014 to foster stakeholder-led development of proposals for the inshore sector.

The meeting heard of new measures to be introduced by the Minister and the regulation of fishing activities affecting Natura 2000 sites at Hook Head and the Saltee Islands.

Brexit, and its impact on the fishing sector, was also discussed including the UK’s intention to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention, which governs access to waters inside the 12-mile limit.

“While the implications of Brexit are far from clear,I will continue to highlight Irish fisheries concerns on the EU agenda and work with other impacted EU member states and the Barnier team to ensure that fisheries are not isolated in the overall negotiations on a new EU/UK relationship,” the Minister said.

WhereWishMenFish – trip to Cuba

Fancy a trip away in the Cuban sunshine? WhereWishMenFish is offering a week’s fishing from the 13th to 20th January, 2018 for a discount price of €3,200 per person for up to six anglers.

Saltwater fishing in the Jardines de la Reina should be excellent over this period with the full mix of bonefish, permit and tarpon available.

The Halcon yacht sleeps six, each with individual rooms. Skiff and guide is shared between two with option of a single skiff for an additional surcharge. Contact for further details.