Angler in a river

Research theme: Citizen science

Citizen science is research carried out by members of the public who voluntarily collect data and assist in scientific projects. Everyone who is interested in science and how it can be applied is encouraged to participate in citizen science and to deepen their understanding of environmental issues they care about. Citizen science is particularly useful for environmental science because small amounts of the right data collected by many people over wide areas and over time can scale up to provide large amounts of very useful information for a relatively low cost and without the need for scientific equipment or formal training.

You can be a citizen scientist too! Inland Fisheries Ireland has a number of ongoing projects where your help is needed.

Wheelchair user enjoying river fishing

Have you caught a specimen fish?

If so, you can submit your claim to the Irish Specimen Fish Committee. This information helps us to learn more about key angling species and makes our information better for you as an angler. The information compiled by the committee and provided on their website includes information on fishing locations and hotspots, as well as the most effective baits and methods to use for each species and the best times of the year to catch them.

Who do I contact?

Email isfc@fisheriesireland.ie

For more information, you can visit our webpage for the Specimen Fish Atlas project.

Shad

Have you caught a tagged fish?

Keep your eyes peeled and report tagged fish you catch. Please be aware that tags can become covered in algae and difficult to see at first! Inland Fisheries Ireland regularly tags eels, bass, sea trout and elasmobranchs. Take a photo, measure the fish, weigh or estimate its weight, record the tag number and then let the fish go. Tell us in as much detail as possible where you caught it, including the time and date and fishing method used to catch it. Send an email with the information to the relevant email below.

Join our tagging team to tag elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) and bass. Anglers who regularly catch these species can be trained and equipped for tagging by staff at Inland Fisheries Ireland. Our Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme has been running for 50 years and has tagged over 40,000 fish, providing fantastic information on the distribution and movement patterns of 15 different species.

Who do I contact?

Email info@fisheriesireland.ie

For more information, you can visit our webpages for the Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme and on Tagging and Telemetry.


Have you caught a tagged bass?

Please look out for tagged bass and report any you find. Take a photo, measure the fish, weigh or estimate its weight, record the tag number and let it go. Tell us in as much detail as possible where you caught it, including the time and date and fishing method used to catch it. Send an email with the information to the relevant email below.

Who do I contact?

Email Bass@fisheriesireland.ie

For more information, you can visit our webpages for the National Bass Programme page and on Tagging and Telemetry.

Bass with tag on its dorsal fin

Have you caught an adult salmon or trout?

If you are lucky enough to catch an adult Atlantic salmon, sea trout, brown trout or ferox trout, we'd love to hear from you! You can help us learn a little bit about the fish, its growth rate and its age by taking scale samples from the area shown below in the diagram. Using a sharp knife, gently but firmly scrape about 5 to 10 scales in a head-to-tail direction. This may be done two or three times in rapid succession on the left side of the fish. Scales can be rubbed off the knife on the inside of a small envelope and sent in to us.

Who do I contact?

Research Division, Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin, D24 Y265. 

For more information, visit our webpages for the National Salmon Scale Project and on Fish Ageing Techniques.

Diagram of how to take a scale sample from a salmonid.

Have you seen any lamprey spawning activity?

River and brook lampreys spawn in March–April in shallow, moderately-flowing gravelled areas of rivers and streams. If spawning is occurring, you are most likely to see a ‘freshening’ of areas in the gravels, with loosened gravels of a lighter colour than the surrounding river bed. River lamprey nests, or redds, are identified by oval or circular scrapings in the gravels of up to 40cm in diameter. Brook lamprey nests are smaller, often only a few centimetres wide and long. Lampreys are often present in the nests, even during the day, with numbers varying anything between 2 and 20 individuals.

Brook lamprey and river lamprey are sometimes seen spawning in the same location, but they can be told apart by their size: brook lampreys are about 10–12cm in length, but river lampreys are bigger, measuring about 25–30cm in length.

Sea lampreys are easily distinguished from river and brook lampreys as they are much larger, around 60–90cm in length, and have a mottled brown and black colour. They spawn in May–July, which is later than brook and river lampreys, in the gravels and cobbles of shallow, fast-flowing sections of rivers. They often spawn in areas that are used by spawning salmon and trout.

Sea lamprey nests are large structures, over 1m wide and up to 50cm deep, often visible from the bank. Look for a mound of freshly turned gravels of a lighter colour than the surrounding river bed and a bowl-like depression immediately upstream of it. Nests are often found in clusters just downstream of weirs.

 

For more information, visit our page on the Red Data Book Species.

Brook lamprey spawning in a redd.

If you spot any lamprey spawning activity, please let us know:

  • the exact location (preferably with GPS  coordinates)
  • the date of the sighting
  • the number of nests
  • the number of lampreys
  • the approximate lengths of the lampreys (this helps us identify the species, sea, river or brook lampreys)

If possible, use a mobile phone to take a photo showing the nest and its location in the river.

Who do I contact?

lamprey@fisheriesireland.ie

For more information, visit our page on the Red Data Book Species.