CONTROVERSY has erupted over the discovery of Pacific salmon in Irish rivers from Mayo to Donegal. The pink, or humpback, salmon is a native of waters in Russia, western Canada and the US but small numbers have been detected seeking to spawn in Norwegian, Scottish and Irish rivers.
Scientists fear the species could prove to be a new threat to the native Atlantic salmon which is already under pressure after decades of decline.
Dr Greg Forde, head of operations at Inland Fisheries Ireland, in Dublin said,
“The appearance of this species is a mystery. We are appealing to the public, and the angling community in particular, to be vigilant and to report any catch of pink salmon to Inland Fisheries Ireland.”
The species can be identified by the following characteristics: large black oval spots on the tail; 11-19 rays on the anal fin; very small scales; no dark spots on the gill cover and an upper jaw extending beyond the eye.
Members of the public who catch a pink salmon are asked to contact IFI without delay and to record date, location, length, weight, photograph and keep the fish for further examination. Reports can be made to a 24-hour confidential hotline number – 1890 34 74 24. For further information download Pink Salmon Factsheet at www.fisheriesireland.ie
Meanwhile a Go Fishing event will be held at Altnahinch Reservoir in County Antrim on Saturday August 5 for anyone who would like to try angling for the first time. It is split into three sessions:
10.00 am to noon
noon to 2.00 pm
2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Inland Fisheries is hosting this event. Complimentary licences/ permits are available only to first time anglers. Tuition and equipment will be offered on the day. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Inland Fisheries representatives will be in attendance to offer advice on fishing and the attractions of the Department’s Public Angling Estate which offers over 70 waters across Northern Ireland including Altnahinch adn Portavoe in North Down. Pre-booking is essential. Email: email@example.com or phone: 0300 200 7860.