Inland Fisheries Ireland issues Pacific pink salmon alert- Media Release

Press Release
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  • Concerns raised that Irish Atlantic salmon and trout could be at risk from the non-native species
  • First reported Pacific pink salmon captured in Ireland this year on the River Moy in Mayo

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the state agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, has today issued an alert, asking the angling community and general public to report any sightings of Pacific pink salmon.

Also known as ‘humpback’ salmon, pink salmon were very rare in Irish waters until 2017 and are believed to have originated from stocking programmes in Russia. Scientists at Inland Fisheries Ireland are concerned that if there are large numbers of the non-native species in Irish rivers, this may have negative impacts on Ireland’s salmon and trout populations in the future.

Picture below shows the first reported Pacific pink salmon that was caught in Ireland in 2021. It came from the Ridge Pool in the Moy Fishery (Co. Mayo) and was caught on June 27th 2021

Pacific Pink Salmon caught on the Ridge Pool Moy Mayo

Dr. Paddy Gargan with Inland Fisheries Ireland explains: “If Pacific pink salmon become established in Irish rivers, they will be competing with Irish salmon and trout for food and space. Pink salmon also display aggressive behaviour towards native fish and a large invasion of pink salmon could push out Atlantic salmon and trout from holding pools into smaller channels.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland has published a guide on its website to help the public identify a Pacific pink salmon, which has large oval black spots on its tail. Males also develop a pronounced ‘humpback’.

Pink Salmon Alert 2021
(1.56 MB)

Appealing for help from the angling community and general public, Dr. Gargan added: “There is only limited information currently available to assess the threat from Pacific pink salmon, so we are asking the angling community and general public to report any sightings to Inland Fisheries Ireland by telephoning our 24 hour confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24.”

Picture below shows an example of a male Pacific pink salmon, with a pronounced ‘humpback’

    Web pink salmon Greenland August 2019

    The first reported catch of a Pacific pink salmon in Ireland this year was in the Ridge Pool, Moy Fishery (Co. Mayo) on 27th June 2021. Anglers across the country are also being asked to report any further catches of Pacific pink salmon to Inland Fisheries Ireland and to assist with research efforts by following these steps:

    • Keep the Pacific pink salmon and do not release it back into the water, even in rivers that are only open for ‘catch and release’ angling.
    • Record the date and location of capture, and the length and weight of the fish.
    • Take a photograph of the fish and keep a copy of the image.
    • Tag the fish and please report it to Inland Fisheries Ireland as soon as possible by telephoning 1890 34 74 24. Inland Fisheries Ireland will arrange collection of Pacific pink salmon catches for further analysis and will also promptly issue replacement tags to anglers.

    Note to Editors:

    To know more about Pacific Pink Salmon

      Further information about the conservation and research work of Inland Fisheries Ireland can be found at www.fisheriesireland.ie

      ENDS

      For media information:

      Sarah Bohan/ Sadhbh O’Neill

      Communications

      Inland Fisheries Ireland

      E: sarah.bohan@fisheriesireland.ie/ sadhbh.oneill@fisheriesireland.ie  

      T: 087 6539936 / 087 1019998

      About Inland Fisheries Ireland https://www.fisheriesireland.ie/

      Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communication (DECC) 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.