Fisheries conference hears findings into origins and diversity of Ireland’s brown trout populations


High level of genetic diversity in brown trout populations evident from all catchments studied; little genetic evidence from these studies that stocking of trout to conserve or restore populations works.


Crowded house: The conference attracted a full house from all sections of the Irish angling and fisheries community


Tuesday 17th October 2017: Inland Fisheries Ireland, in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, today presented the findings of a three-year research study into the genetic make-up of Ireland’s brown trout and sea trout populations at a one-day conference at the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

Entitled ‘Understanding Brown Trout - Genes, Ecology and Citizen Science’ – the findings of the study will provide Inland Fisheries Ireland with valuable information on how genetic diversity is distributed among trout populations within certain catchments.

A succession of expert speakers presented the findings, which encompassed ‘Citizen Science’, or research conducted in whole or in part by amateur or non-professional anglers and participants, as well as detailed genetic research.

The main areas in the study included selected Dublin rivers, the Moy catchment area, Co. Mayo, the Shannon system (Lough Derg, Lough Ree and Lough Sheelin), in addition to Lough Corrib and Lough Ramor.

Among the key findings presented today were:

  1. There is a high level of genetic diversity in brown trout populations evident from all catchments studied.  For example, there are 27 genetic groupings of brown trout populations in the Moy catchment, 17 in the Liffey, and 34 in the Lough Ree, catchment, while there are 40 in the Lough Derg catchment; 
  2. Western  tributaries keep Lough Conn well stocked with brown trout, in particular the River Addergoole complex and  River Deel system (together they contribute 77% to adult stocks of the lake);
  3. Key contributors of brown trout to Lough Ree are the River Inny and the Camlin River (over 80%);
  4. Barriers and poor water quality were found to be  significant factors in unravelling genetic diversity patterns.

Photo: Jim Keeshan (Doddder Anglers), Dr Cathal Gallagher (Inland Fisheries Ireland), and Orla Walsh (Lough Conn and Cullin Anglers Association) at the conference


The project also highlighted how successful ‘citizen science’ can be with IFI, QUB and angling clubs working well together. Indeed, ‘citizen science’ working with angling communities from across all three main project areas was critical to the success of the project.

Speaking after the conference, Dr. Cathal Gallagher, Director of Research and Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Today’s conference was a huge success and the findings of the three year study will be of interest to anglers, conservationists, fishery managers and the wider public. More crucially, it has been an exciting and exhaustive project that will have real practical applications and will assist Inland Fisheries Ireland in making the correct and most cost effective fisheries management and conservation decisions.”



For media information:

Paul O’Mahony

Communications Manager

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T: 353 (0) 1 8842675


Notes to Editors:


Conference speakers:

Keynote speakers were Professor Thomas Quinn (University of Washington, USA), Professor Andy Ferguson (retired QUB), and Dr. Nigel Milner (Bangor University). Other featured speakers included: Professor Paulo Prodohl (QUB), Dr. Karen Delanty (Inland Fisheries Ireland), Caroline Bradley (QUB) and Rosaleen Hynes (QUB) and Jamie Magee (QUB).

About Inland Fisheries Ireland:

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.