Pink salmon in Ireland

Salmo salar

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inthepink.jpg

As always best start at the beginning and where best than look at Pacific salmon imports to Europe over 100 years ago - including 50,000 Chinook salmon to Ireland between 1891-1910 (Harache, Y. 1992). Programmes for the introduction of Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) in Newfoundland (Canada) and the Kola Peninsula (USSR) are reviewed in detail, and the use of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) for ranching (New Hampshire, USA) and farming(Europe) is described. Pacific salmon released in Atlantic oceanic areas have shown in most cases an aptitude for survival, growth, homing, and spawning, even in areas where environmental characteristics are substantially different from their home waters.

Table 1. Numbers of chinook salmon eggs shipped to Europe - see Table giving indication of numbers imported between 1872 and 1930.
Receiving country 1872-1890 1891-1910 1911-1930 Total
England 150 000 150000
France 658 000 395 000 1053000
Germany 830 000 125 000 955 000
Italy 50 000 50000 100000
Ireland 50000 50000
Netherlands 500000 400000 900000.

For Ireland this early wave of stocking rivers with salmon, trout and charr is best documented by Noel Wilkins in his wonderful book Pond, Passes and Parcs, Aquaculture in Victorian Ireland which gives a comprehensive account of our stocking endeavour.
Fast Forward to the 1980 and the Atlantic salmon trust had this to say about European stocking.

Pink AST 1980.jpg

So what of the pink salmon appearing in Ireland in 1973, 1991, 2003 and 2017.
Here's a little piece I wrote so long ago I forgot it until Giles Fraser reminded me the fish was in the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

"Pink Salmon Catch Tops 121 Million and One!

The banner screamed "Alaska's pink salmon catch for 2003 reached 121 million fish, the fifth largest on record and in terms of poundage landed the largest pink haul ever". Add to this tally a Pacific salmon discovered in the wrong ocean - the Atlantic - Ballyconneely, Co. Galway to be precise. It is expected that more exciting scientific discoveries are to follow from the same source.

The pink, also referred to humpback is native to the Pacific Ocean so how was this one caught off the West Coast of Ireland? The all-important catch was made by John McDonagh, Roundstone, Co. Galway while drift netting for native Atlantic salmon Salmo salar at Deer Island in the first week of July. Little did John know he would be contributing to this year's pink salmon record though credit must really go to Graham Roberts, Connemara Smokehouse, Aillebrack, Ballyconneely, Co. Galway who purchased the fish for smoking.

Having received the catch on the 2nd July Graham set aside one that "just didn't look right" and asked Tom McDermott, of the Marine Institute, Galway to examine the oddity. The fish turned out to be the third specimen of the Pacific salmon species Oncorhynchus gorbuscha found in Irish waters and is currently on display after a quick spin to the Natural History Museum in Dublin under the watchful eye of record keeper Mark Holmes.

The pink salmon is likely to have come from a deliberate transfer of pink stocks to Atlantic waters in an effort to extend the range of the species. The pink belongs to the genus Oncorhynchus, from Latin meaning, "hooked snout" which describes the characteristic upper jaw of the seven species within the group. Pink salmon breed from the Sacramento River, California to the Mackenzie River, Canada and in Northeast Asia from Peter the Great Bay to the principal waterway of eastern Siberia, the Lena River. Its long-based anal fin immediately distinguishes the species with mature males developing the characteristic humpback appearance.

Unlike the Atlantic salmon the young descend to sea soon after hatching and return a year later destined to die after spawning. A peculiarity of the pink species is its fixed two-year life cycle span. Because of this there is no overlapping between pink stocks of one year and those of the next. Thus, two different and unique stocks may use the same stream for breeding, each in its own year. Pink are more abundant in northern waters on even-numbered years and in southern waters on odd numbered years and yes you guessed it - the two documented Irish strays appeared in 1991 and 2003. Though many attempts have been made to introduce pinks to the Atlantic only two were successful - to the rivers of Newfoundland and those in the Russian Kola Peninsula (Barents Sea). A number of specimens have already been captured in Icelandic, Norwegian and Scottish waters, presumably strays from the Barents Sea stock. It is likely that the Irish strays originated in Russia however the possibility that they crossed the Atlantic with our spring salmon from Greenland cannot be discounted. The possibility of stray pink salmon establishing viable populations is remote though one fish did make it into an Irish river.

The first documented specimen was recovered at Ballina, Co. Mayo from a draft net in the river Moy in July 1991 having reached maturity as a male at 2.1kg and 53cm. It is possible that this fish was attempting to move upstream in a vain attempt to spawn. Though the first pink caught in Irish waters off the Southwest coast by a drift net fisherman and the current mature male stray may have sought to reach our rivers the numbers about are simply too small to establish the species. For Graham Roberts, who recently received BIM's award for the best fish product to the market for 2003 with his "honeyed smoked salmon" the story is not yet complete. The discovery of a pink in his catch may yet be dwarfed by the significance of finding salmon that prey on crab. The mind boggles! Is this a first and what does it say about the current knowledge of the king of fish?
Watch this space."

ps the greatest Irish authority on all things salmo A.E.J. Went had this to say about Pinks in 1973

"Reports of Two Exotic Species During 1973 two "exotic" species of fishes were recorded from Irish waters as follows: 1. Oncorhynchus gorbuscha Walbaum (Hump Back Salmon) This species of Pacific origin was extensively planted out into the rivers on the Kola Peninsula (Barents Sea) by the Russians in the late "fifties". As a result of these plantings large numbers of hump back salmon were recaptured in Russia, Norway and Iceland. A few recaptures were made in Great Britain also but none in Ireland. On 14th August 1973 a male hump back salmon was taken from the River Moy. The fish in question weighed 2 kg and measured 59.6 cm to the fork of the tail and 63.6 cm full length. It had very big, strong teeth, typical of a maturing male fish of this species. As Wheeler (1969) points out the back is most strikingly humped in males which also develop enormously hooked jaws with strong teeth, the arching of the back is, however, noticeable in both females and juveniles. This is the first specimen of the hump back salmon to (be recorded from Irish waters. It is perhaps as well to point out that previous reports of "hump back" salmon have always proved to be of Salmo salar the Atlantic salmon, in which there is compaction of part of the vertebral column, in some cases producing a slight hump in front of the dorsal fin.

Now in 2017
FB_IMG_1499900383749.jpg
To date in 2017 catches have been reported on the Foxford Fishery, Coolcronan Fishery, Galway Fishery, Cong River and the Drowes. That's 3 for the Moy and 3 for Corrib.

so there you have it - the potted version of Pink salmon in Ireland.

Some Interesting Fishes Taken from Irish Waters in 1973
Arthur E. J. Went
The Irish Naturalists' Journal
Vol. 18, No. 3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 57-65

Harache, Y. 1992. Pacific salmon in Atlantic waters. - ICES mar. Sei. Symp., 194:31-55.
http://www.environmentdata.org/fedo...-salmon-trust-progress-report-august-1980.pdf
 
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Nigel Rush

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If we catch one... are we obliged to waste one of our tags or will be prosecuted for not doing so?
 

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Dawros a cracker of a system to fish with recent downpours

If we catch one... are we obliged to waste one of our tags or will be prosecuted for not doing so?
P7060095.jpg

Hi Nigel
Giving you a glib answer I suppose would be to point to this raft of legislation. In practical terms however the best policy is to encourage anglers to remove all stray non-indigenous fish from entering our systems -rather than penalising them.

S.I. No. 636 of 2016 Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2016

This Statutory Instrument provides for the quotas of fish that can be harvested by commercial fishing engines and rod and line from those rivers identified in Schedule 2 of the regulation and also provides for the use of brown tags in specified rivers identified in Schedule 4 of the regulation.

 pdf Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations S I of 636 (80 KB)

Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Closed Rivers) Bye-law No. C.S. 321, 2016

This Bye-law prohibits the taking or attempting to take by rod and line salmon and sea trout (over 40 cm) in the rivers specified in the Bye-law. The Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Closed Rivers) Bye-law No. C.S. 320, 2015 is revoked.

 pdf Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Closed Rivers) Bye law No C S 321, 2016 (41 KB)

Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Bag Limits) Bye-law No. 944, 2016

This Bye-law provides for an annual bag limit of 10 fish being either salmon or sea trout (over 40 cm) per angler and provides for a season bag limit of 3 fish in the period 1 January to 11 May, a daily bag limit of 3 fish from 12 May to 31 August and a daily bag limit of 1 fish from 1 September to the end of the season. The Bye-law also provides for the use of single barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified numbers of fish have been caught in the specified periods. The Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Bag Limits) Bye-law No. 934, 2015 is revoked.

 pdf Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Bag Limits) Bye law No 944, 2016 (37 KB)

Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Catch and Release) Bye-law No. 945, 2016

This bye-law provides for catch and release in respect of salmon and sea trout (over 40 cm) in rivers that are meeting at least 65% of their Conservation Limit as stated in the Bye-law. The Bye-law also provides for the use of single barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout over 40 cm. The Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Catch and Release) Bye-law No. 935, 2015 is revoked.

 pdf Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Catch and Release) Bye law No 945, 2016 (35 KB)

Angling Byelaw 943, 2016

This Bye-law prohibits the use of any fish hooks, other than single barbless hooks, prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for all species of fish in the waters specified in the Bye-law, and revokes Angling Bye-law No. 936, 2015.

 pdf Angling Bye law No 943 2016 (43 KB)

Conservation of Sea Trout Bye-Law No. 946, 2016

This Bye-law provides for a daily bag limit of 3 sea trout (less than 40cm in length) and provides for the use of single barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified number of sea trout have been caught. The Conservation of Sea Trout Bye-Law No. 937, 2015 is revoked.

 pdf Conservation of Sea Trout Bye law No 946, 2016 (30 KB)

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Nigel Rush

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Principal Act legally defines what a wild salmon is for purpose of tags:

" “wild salmon”means wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar"
.

Page 62 in link

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2010/act/10/enacted/en/pdf

Great to see someone knows what they are talking about!

Well done duckfly.

There are enough enemies for the true wild 'Atlantic Salmon'. The two worst are the Marine Institute and the Department of Agriculture. Between them they want to see the Atlantic Salmon rendered extinct.
We don't see that written in stone but it as sure going to happen if they get their way.
Shame on all of them.
 

Salmo salar

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Pink salmon - the odd couple!

First record of Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbusca) in Ireland is recorded by Went 1974 and entered on the List of Irish Fishes in 1975.

P7270711.jpg
The 1973 record is entered as "On 14th August 1973 a male hump back salmon was taken from the River Moy. The fish in question weighed 2 kg and measured 59.6 cm to the fork of the tail and 63.6 cm full length. It had very big, strong teeth, typical of a maturing male fish of this species. As Wheeler (1969) points out the back is most strikingly humped in males which also develop enormously hooked jaws with strong teeth, the arching of the back is, however, noticeable in both females and juveniles. This is the first specimen of the hump back salmon to be recorded from Irish waters.

P7270713.jpg

We know that unlike the Atlantic salmon Salmo salar the young descend to sea soon after hatching and return a year later destined to die after spawning. A peculiarity of the pink species is its fixed two-year life cycle span. Because of this there is no overlapping between pink stocks of one year and those of the next. Thus, two different and unique stocks may use the same stream for breeding, each in its own year. Pink are more abundant in northern waters on even-numbered years and in southern waters on odd numbered years.

The pink belongs to the genus Oncorhynchus, and remarkably they may just behave in a similar manner in both the North Atlantic and the Pacific.
I've already outlined the details of the remaining Irish recoveries in 1991 and 2003. The 2017 "strays" are still coming in but at present there's 6 in all. So could it be that the Pink salmon established in Russia and Norway from the 1950's on, also exhibit even (Northern) and odd (Southern) spikes in abundance? For Ireland, the most Southern country to observe Pinks it seems to be that, as in the Pacific, only odd years are abundant - all Irish recoveries are on odd years 1973, 1991, 2003 and now 2017.

Question is what years were pinks observed straying to other North Atlantic countries at different latitudes?
 
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Salmo salar

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Where do Pinks come from? All you need to know - enjoy

....and yes founding population effects for Pinks stocked to rivers entering the White Sea and Barents Sea seem to favour odd year successes so expect more Pinks in 2019.

Pink salmon in the Barents region

With special attention to the status in the transboundary rivers Tana and Neiden,
rivers in North West Russia and in East Canada
Niemelä, E.1), Johansen, N.2), Zubchenko, A.V.3), Dempson, J.B. 4), Veselov, A. 5) Ieshko, E.P. 5), Barskaya,
Yu. 5), Novokhatskaya, O.V. 5), Shulman, B.S. 6), Länsman, M.1), Hassinen, E.1), Kuusela, J.1), Haantie, J.1),
Kylmäaho, M.1), Kivilahti, E., Arvola K-M.7) and Kalske, T.H. (ed.)8)
Office

Barents Sea.png

In the latest decades, pink salmon has been occurring in the catches in almost all of the
salmon rivers in Finnmark in Norway including also the Finnish areas in the river
Neidenelva and Finnish tributaries in the river Tana. Pink salmon not only returned to the
rivers in which they had been introduced/ released, but also spread into Norwegian rivers.
In the year 1960 there were reports of their presence in more than 40 rivers in Northern
Norway. A number of spawning fish were also observed in many rivers in Northern
Norway. In some rivers catches have been only sporadic but in some rivers pink salmon
is occurring nowadays annually. Pink salmon is also caught in Spitsbergen, Iceland,
Scotland and England.


"The importance of pink salmon for the White Sea fishery can be proved from the
following calculations (Zubchenko et al. 2010):
-based to ICES estimations the numbers of Atlantic salmon in the catches was in White
Sea rivers in Kola Peninsula for the years 1999–2008 in average c. 243 000 fish
(143 000–345 000) and the biomass 650-680 tonnes.
-the abundance of pink salmon in the catches in the same area was for the years 1999–
2008 in average c. 89 000 fish (48 000–156 000) and the biomass 115 tonnes.
-at the same time the estimated numbers of pink salmon was in the spawning stocks
within the White Sea rivers in Kola Peninsula 100 000-320 000 fish with the biomass of
140–460 tonnes.
- the total population abundance of pink salmon in White Sea area was estimated to be
480 000–500 000 fish and 700 tonnes"

Pink smolts.png

Gjedrem & Gunnes
(1978) studied the time and water temperature required for embryonic development from
egg to hatching in pink salmon and Atlantic salmon. According to their results pink
salmon needs 610 day-degrees and Atlantic salmon 510 day-degrees, respectively, in the
incubating water temperature of 7-8ºC. This confirms the fact that pink salmon in
northern weather conditions like in Kola Peninsula and in Finnmark needs to spawn early
in autumn to produce living progeny the following summer.

According to Gordeeva et al. (2015) the choice of the river Ola population (Magadan
population) as a donor for introduction confirmed the idea on hereditarily fixed
adaptations of northern and southern pink salmon populations to hydrothermal regime in
spawning rivers. The introduction of eggs from the odd year stock from the river Ola in
the year 1985 resulted in the self-reproducing population. Eggs from even year stock in
the years 1984, 1986, 1996 and 1998 from the river Ola were released to Kola Peninsula
In the period 1991-2000 (except 1996 and 1998) juvenile pink salmon releases originated
only from odd - year stocks in White Sea area rivers. From the year 2001 onwards there hasn’t
been juveniles released in the Kola Peninsula and Archangelsk area in the White
Sea with odd-year stocks but in the even-year stocks from the years 2000 and 2002 and
some fries were released in the years 2001 and 2003 (Zubchenko et al. 2004).

After the intensive transplanting which were ceased in early 2000 self-reproducing pink
salmon stocks have been established at least in the White Sea rivers, yielding some
hundreds of thousand kilos in annual catches. It is interesting to note that also even year
stock has been occurring until recent years in the rivers Tana and Neidenelva and in
many other rivers in Finnmark. The wide annual occurrence of pink salmon in the entire
Barents Sea area, including Iceland and Spitsbergen and the ascent of mature fish into the
rivers for spawning, indicates that their homing migration is not accurate in the new
ocean environment although the ability to return to home rivers is genetically governed.
This homing instinct and orientation during the sea migration phase has developed for the
Pacific Ocean environment, between 35 º - 60º northern latitudes in Asia, and it doesn’t
function properly in the latitudes of 70º (coast of Finnmark) up to 80º (middle of
Spitsbergen), but looks to function quite good in White Sea latitudes with 65º.
 
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Salmo salar

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Latest addition Owengarve River Co. Mayo

Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbusca) a male wieghing 1.8kg with a length of 53cm was caught by an angler on the Owengarve River, Co. Mayo on Friday 11th August 2017Pacific Salmon Owengarve Mayo 2017 .jpg
 
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nore fly

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Fantastic information on this thread about pink salmon....but we must not forget other species of fish introduced to rivers that are competing with are native salmon and trout ...on the nore you have course fish introduced by foul means and no one willing to eradicate them.....thousands of dace shoalling in the river and eating everything in front of them.... ..
 
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Salmo salar

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Erriff in the Pink

More pinks - Erriff has its Pinks (cock & hen) as caught on film by intrepid underwater wildlife photographer and dedicated conservationist Padraic O'Malley
With spawning filmed on Ness what are the chances of a viable pink run?
On the face of it possibly non existent in the immediate future given that it took a deliberate, long term, large scale stocking of Pinks to get a run established in Barents Sea rivers and in Northern Norway.
Is it possible? Yes based on the temperature regime and survival rates it should be possible for juveniles to grow and migrate but the high straying rate dilutes the possibility of the stock establishing in a rogue river on the west coast of Ireland.

Pink survival.png

Pink temperature.png
 
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Scrummatron

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Just thought I'd jump in here and mention they're in sligo Ireland too.
God they're hideous things:(
 

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any pics or size recorded?

on the Ballisodare?

Hi HJCB
Great river - these Pinks obviously found Cooper's 1842 ladders - how far did they get up the system? hardly made Coolaney but might have got to Collooney. Were they mature, females, males and number and sizes.
how did the fishing go this year I'd imagine once the water came the pool was quiet but should be good in June.
many thanks for posting
 

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on the Ballisodare?

In the garavouge and drum cliff,5lb and 6 1/2lb.
Both females and spewing "huge" eggs all over the place when landed so they were clearly good to go,,..if u get me.;)
They stick out big time beside the natives in the water And the abundance of visually mottled fish in the rivers this year means there everywhere it seems.
Pic there . Can't seem to get it working,but it's in the new members section if u want a look.:)
 

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Walked a section of the river today (Dawros) and came across a freshly dug redd which was not there two days ago and possibly not there yesterday as I had an experienced angler out on the same stretch who would have noticed the same. He also noticed a freshly dug redd on the lower stretch yesterday afternoon. Our fish generally do not spawn until late December/early January.
Could these redds be Pinks?
 

Salmo salar

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What to look for in your rivers and estuaries as fry emerge

What to look for in your rivers
Spawning - Pinks use the mainstems of large rivers and some tributaries, often very close to saltwater. Because their fry move directly to sea after emerging, the closer they spawn to saltwater the better. The shorter journey reduces predation and increases survival. Sometimes pink salmon spawn right in saltwater, avoiding freshwater altogether. Immediately after emerging they move downstream to the estuary and rear there for several months before heading out to the open ocean. Because of this, pink fry have no spots, which provide camouflage in streams, but are bright chrome for open water.
Pink smolts.png
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
A peculiarity of this species is its fixed, two year lifespan. Immediately after they emerge from the gravel in the spring, the young pink fry enter the ocean and after a few days to several months in the estuary and nearshore zone, they move out into the open ocean in large schools. There, pink salmon feed on the small and nearly invisible animals called zooplankton, especially krill, which gives their flesh the bright pink colour for which they are named.

Adult pink salmon enter spawning rivers from the ocean, usually returning to the stream where they originated. Spawning occurs between late June and mid-October, in coastal streams and some longer rivers, and in the intertidal zone or at the mouth of streams if hyporheic freshwater is available. The female lays from 1000 to 2000 eggs in several clutches within the redd, often fertilized by different males. Females guard their redds until death, which comes within days of spawning. The eggs hatch from December to February, depending on water temperature, and the juveniles emerge from the gravel during March and April and quickly migrate downstream to estuaries. The fish achieve sexual maturity in their second year of life. They return to freshwater in the summer or autumn as two-year-old adults. In Europe, pink salmon have been periodically introduced to rivers of the White Sea and Barents Sea basins in Russia since 1956. Stray fish from these rivers have been encountered ascending to rivers also in Norway, Sweden, Great Britain and Iceland, and in Norway even self-sustaining populations have been observed
 
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GeeBee

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one report of a redd being dug and spawning shenanigans seen on the Blackwater at Ballyduff, Waterford.
 
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