Plantation plan to save ‘doomed majorities’

Angling Notes: Fry could be moved to non-productive sections of the same river where suitable habitat is present, in order to boost native wild salmon populations

 

On a recent visit to Ireland, Dr Kyle Young, a research associate from the University of Zurich, gave a presentation on his novel approach to enhance wild Atlantic salmon production in river systems. His idea proposes the translocation of wild fry from abundant- to low-productivity areas within a catchment.

According to Dr Young, natural survival bottlenecks are experienced by Atlantic salmon through each stage of their life-cycle, from egg to fry, fry to parr, parr to smolt and so on. Under natural conditions, the majority of wild salmon fry do not survive to become parr.

These so called “doomed majorities” can be present in sections of rivers with an abundance of salmon fry whose population size is constrained by the carrying capacity of the habitat.

Such fry could be moved to non-productive sections of the same river where suitable habitat is present, in an effort to boost production of native wild salmon populations, Dr Young said.

This approach may minimise the unintended negative consequences of more conventional salmon-stocking programmes where wild salmon broodstock are taken from spawning areas and eggs are fertilised in the hatchery.

Hatchery-origin fish are less well-adapted to thrive than their wild compatriots and the overall fitness of the wild component of a population may be compromised through lower overall survival, interbreeding and competition for resources with stocked fish.

Dr Young also took time to visit the National Salmonid Index Catchment at the River Erriff, the Galway Salmon Fishery, and Cong hatchery to discuss his theorised approach with IFI management, field staff and researchers.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is discussing the possibility of undertaking experimental trials with this novel approach to boost juvenile salmon production upstream of their trapping facilities in the Erriff catchment.

Bid to protect sea trout in Wales

Estimated to be worth £100 million, supporting around 1,500 jobs, and with angling-related tourism being even higher, it is vital to protect the fishing industry now and for future generations.

To tackle these concerns, NRW is consulting on several fronts to reverse the trend and help this iconic species play a continuing role in their environment and culture.

In August, NRW launched a consultation on catch controls for rivers wholly in Wales but now it is extending the consultation to include the Welsh parts of the cross-border rivers – the Dee and Wye.

The Environment Agency will be carrying out an identical consultation on the English parts of these two rivers. In addition, measures to ensure released fish have the best chance of survival, the use of barbless hooks and a ban on treble hooks and bait, are also being proposed.

The consultation began last Monday and will run until February 5th, 2018. Proposals include: mandatory catch and release of salmon on the Dee; mandatory catch and release for sea trout before May 1st on the Dee; a 60cm maximum size length limit for sea trout to help protect larger female sea trout and restrictions on bait and treble hooks.

These measures will not affect the 10-year catch controls in place on the Wye since 2012 and are not due to expire until 2021. The new byelaws, however, would remain in place for 10 years, with a comprehensive review into their effectiveness after five years.

Tribute to Atlantic salmon activist in London

The event is free, but limited to 200 guests. If you wish to attend, contact Edwina Ord-Hume at support@frontierstrvl.co.uk stating how you knew Orri to receive your numbered invitation, which must be brought to the event.

The John Dory column

John DoryThe Co Down Spectator

Sadly, today it receives very little support from government departments, private fisheries, readers or advertisers and it is increasingly difficult to sustain quality during the closed season for game fishing.

“While I will continue to submit an occasional article about angling for your consideration I regret I can no longer make a column available on a weekly basis,” he said.

angling@irishtimes.com

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