Q: How is the Conservation Limit and Surplus derived ?

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.

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.


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.


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 .


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.