Atlantic salmon projects and publications
National Salmonid Index Catchment
IFI has designated the River Erriff, one of Ireland's premier salmon and sea trout fisheries, as the National Salmonid Index Catchment. Salmon and sea trout migrating upstream in the Erriff must pass through fish counting and trapping facilities located at Aasleagh Falls, where the Erriff flows into Killary Harbour. Since 1985, salmon and sea trout smolts and kelts migrating downstream pass through a trap below Tawnyard Lough. The facilities at this research station are used for a wide range of scientific research and monitoring activities on the salmonid populations and their migratory behaviour.
Find about more about the National Salmonid Index Catchment at http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/NSIC/the-national-salmonid-index-catchment.html.
LiceTrack is an EU–funded project that is developing a model of larval sea lice dispersal from salmon farms.
The project will use sentinel cages, which will be deployed to monitor salmon exposed to environmental conditions and sea lice levels in Killary Harbour. The data will be used to validate a model that integrates environmental conditions, such as water temperature and local hydrodynamics, with larval sea lice dispersal from salmon farms. This project will contribute to developing best management practice for sea lice control and will define a range of production strategies that aim to reduce the presence of sea lice and their negative impacts, both on farmed and wild Atlantic salmon.
Find about more about LiceTrack here: LiceTrack Project
SMOLTRACK is a NASCO-funded telemetry project that is monitoring salmon smolts on the Black River, a tributary of the River Erriff. Smolts trapped and tagged on their downstream migration are detected and counted by facilities installed on the river as part of the National Salmonid Index Catchment.
The project will determine the mortality of salmon smolts during their migration and investigate factors affecting their survival in the river, estuary and at sea. As well as testing and developing operational protocols of this monitoring system, SMOLTRACK aims to provide data to inform the future management and conservation of salmon stocks.
Find about more about SMOLTRACK at http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Fisheries-Research/smoltrack-project.html.
IFI research reports
Read summary reports on salmon stocks on the salmon management publications page.
For other surveys of rivers and lakes that contain salmon, see also the WFD surveillance monitoring programme at http://wfdfish.ie/.
Environmental River Enhancement Project
The Environmental River Enhancement Project (EREP) is a collaborative initiative in applied restoration ecology that aims to rehabilitate habitat in salmonid rivers that were subject to arterial drainage schemes since the 1940s.
Enhancement works designed and monitored by IFI are implemented by the OPW as part of their maintenance of drainage schemes. IFI also provide training in environmentally friendly drainage maintenance to OPW staff and conduct studies of the biodiversity and hydromorphology of drained channels.
Read more about this work at http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Projects/erep.html.
Between 2009 and 2015, the MulkearLIFE project aimed to restore degraded habitats along the Mulkear River and its main tributaries for Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey and European otter. As well as carrying out in-stream rehabilitation work to improve salmon and lamprey habitat and removing barriers to these species’ migration, the project engaged the local community with an environmental education programme and worked with local landowners to address water quality concerns.
More information about the MulkearLIFE project can be found at http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Projects/mulkearlife.html.
IRD Duhallow LIFE SAMOK
IFI was a partner in the IRD Duhallow LIFE SAMOK project, which was led by the IRD Duhallow local development company between 2010 and 2015. The project aimed to restore degraded habitats and enhance riverbed and riparian habitats in the Upper Munster Blackwater Catchment along the River Allow. IRD Duhallow LIFE SAMOK worked with local landowners to carry out in-stream and bank-side rehabilitation work to improve salmon habitat. The project also focused on habitat restoration for freshwater pearl mussels, otters and kingfishers in the catchment. IRD Duhallow LIFE SAMOK engaged with local communities and ran an environmental education programme with local schools.
More information about the IRD Duhallow LIFE SAMOK project can be found at http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Projects/duhallow-life-project.html.
Atlantic Aquatic Resource Conservation (AARC)
The AARC project (2010–2012) was part of a wider international EU-funded programme that aimed to promote integrated water resource management in rivers around the Atlantic coast of Europe, with a particular focus on culturally and economically important migratory fish species.
In Ireland, IFI and its project partners focused on salmon populations in the River Shannon and the potential of restoration ecology to address their decline. The project conducted genetic analysis of the Shannon salmon population, carried out field trials of the relative survival of juvenile salmon from different subpopulations, compiled relevant habitat and environmental data in GIS datasets, and co-ordinated the activities of stakeholders to direct strategy for rehabilitation of salmon in the upper Shannon catchment.
More information about the AARC project can be found at http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Projects/aarc.html.
Salmonid Habitat Modelling
A collaborative report released by the Central Fisheries Board and project partners in 2003 used a series of datasets on river catchment topology, river gradient, lake areas, barriers to migration and salmonid distribution to assess the extent of fluvial habitat accessible to salmon and sea trout in Ireland. The report, “Quantification of the Freshwater Salmon Habitat Asset in Ireland using data interpreted in a GIS platform”, identified 261 salmonid fishery systems, 173 containing salmon and sea trout, and 88 containing sea trout only, comprised of 182.4 million m2 river and stream habitat.
The report can be downloaded in full by clicking here.