SALMON CONSERVATION and Regulations

Q: What rivers / lakes are open, closed or catch and release this year?

Please see here under the ‘Open fisheries’, ‘Catch and release only’ and ‘Closed’ tabs.

Q: Who decides what rivers are open / closed / catch and release only and how is this decided?
The Standing Scientific Committee (SSC) for salmon determine the conservation limit and surplus afforded to each individual salmon river within the state following which IFI Management make a recommendation on the future catch options for that river based on the best information available. These recommendations are submitted to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and following a period of consultation the Minister will make a decision on the future catch options associated with each individual river.

There are 148 listed salmon rivers in Ireland.  Each river has a given Conservation Limit.  The Conservation Limit (CL) is the number of spawning salmon required to produce the next generation of salmon. A group of expert fisheries scientists; the Scientific Standing Committee, develop the CL using the wetted area of each river along with its latitude to determine the number of salmon eggs required to populate this area. An assessment is made annually as to whether the conservation limit is reached on each river by using the average fish counter data, salmon rod catches, redd counts or by catchment wide electro-fishing from the previous 5 years of data. Following this assessment each river is given a catch option as follows subject to approval:

  • Any surplus over the CL, the river can be allocated a quota for the harvest of salmon.
  • If the river is meeting between 65% -100% of the CL the river can be opened on a ‘catch and release’ basis
  • If the river is meeting less the 65% of the CL or has a rod catch of less than 10 fish the river will be closed for salmon fishing.

IFI forward the above advice to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources who makes the final decision on the catch options each year following a public consultation process.

 

Q: What is the conservation limit for a river?
A: The ‘conservation limit’ for a river is the number of spawning salmon required to produce the next generation of salmon.  The conservation limit is fixed for each river based on the wetted area, latitude and other river specific factors, i.e. the proportion of one sea winter salmon and multi sea winter salmon in the population, the average weight of these salmon, proportions of male and female salmon and average numbers of eggs per female fish.

Q: How are Adult salmon Returns calculated each year?
A: The ‘Adult salmon returns’ is determined based on the counter figures where one exists or the rod catch figures (taken from the logbooks) from the most recent 5 years of data with an average figure derived.

Q: How is the surplus or deficit determined for each river?
A: The ‘Surplus’ or ‘Deficit’ for each river is determined by subtracting the ‘conservation limit’ from the 5 years average ‘Adult salmon returns’ specific for each river. The % of that rivers ‘conservation limit’ being met enables IFI Management to make recommendations on the catch options association with each individual river.

Q: What are the criteria for a river being closed / open on a catch and release basis or fully open?
A: A river meeting less than 65% of its conservation limit will be closed for all salmon fishing (unless catchment wide electrofishing results warrant the river been opened on a catch and release basis).  A river meeting between 65% and 100% of its ‘conservation limit’ can be opened on a catch and release basis for salmon and sea trout (over 40cm).  A river exceeding 100% of its conservation limit can be open to the harvesting of salmon and sea trout if the surplus is sufficient to warrant the harvesting of salmon and sea trout and there is no danger of the quota been exceeded.