SCIENCE is playing an increasing role in improving our understanding of the habits of Ireland’s endangered sporting fishes. A major study tracking sea trout last year revealed how the fishes which inhabit Ireland’s north east coast range as far as Wales and the latest study of sea bass on the south coast tells us the species is a stay-at-home which rarely ventures more than a few miles from its spawning grounds.
SMOLTRACK gives the public the opportunity to follow juvenile salmon making their journey from spawning grounds to sea. The project is running in six locations in Europe, including the Erriff in Mayo and the Bush in Antrim, and will help determine the survival of young salmon during their migration.
Traps are used to catch migrating salmon smolts for tagging before releasing them to continue their migration journey. The salmon smolts are tagged with miniature acoustic transmitters and their subsequent migration is followed via acoustic listening stations situated at various locations. The project will provide new data which will inform future salmon management and conservation work.
Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at Inland Fisheries Ireland said, “This is an exciting project which will allow us to gather new information around the survival and timing of salmon smolts journeying seaward. This information will inform our work in the area of salmon conservation which will prove invaluable to Ireland’s fisheries resource in the long term.”
Meanwhile the Irish Ladies Flyfishing Association’s second trial is scheduled for Sunday, May 14, at Loughmacrory Lake, near Omagh in Tyrone. For entries contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Gerry email@example.com
This year’s home international will take place on Lough Melvin, fishing out of Garrison, in Fermanagh, on Thursday, June 15 with Julie Gerry as captain. Entries must arrive before Friday May 5 to allow boats/boatmen to be booked.
And finally sea anglers will be pleased to learn the mackerel are back. Boat owners in north Down advise me they are picking up fish out at sea. A sure sign, despite the changeable weather, that the summer season is on its way.