Should we revise salmon/sea trout C&R policies?

Should we revise salmon/sea trout C&R polices?

  • Yes

    Votes: 14 37.8%
  • No

    Votes: 10 27.0%
  • Only in conjunction with increased protection, enhancement, research etc

    Votes: 13 35.1%

  • Total voters
    37

reddie

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Should we revise Irish salmon/sea trout C&R policies?

Over the past couple of weeks, various fishery boards in Scotland have released their river conservation regulations. Two links, one from the Tay and the other form the Ness, are as follows:

Conservation Regulations | Ness District Salmon Fishery Board
http://www.tdsfb.org/images/Tay%20DSFB%20Annual%20Report%202016.pdf

Reading through them, what is blatantly obvious is how they take C&R seriously. For example, in terms of quantity, of 1,139 spring salmon caught in the Tay, 1,101 were released. In terms of size, the Ness must release all hen fish (of all sizes) and all cock fish over 8lb between July and October (everything before then is released). All sea trout over 3lb are recommended to be released.

Look at Irish catch stats for comparison:

http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/fisheries-management-1/983-wild-salmon-and-sea-trout-statistics-report-2015/file

The Moy for example... of 717 spring salmon caught, just 76 were released. The Drowes, 284 caught, 77 released. Corrib, 250 caught and 21 released.
Nearly all of these will be multi sea winter salmon and a good proportion of fish caught and kept in the summer will also be MSW fish.

Before I end this post I have to be clear in saying that I'm not against killing fish at all and releasing all salmon is not going to instigate a miracle recovery over night. However, should we adopt similar policies on our rivers now and take a leaf out of Scotland's book? Be more selective about what we keep and how many. Not all but many fish I see kept are MSW fish and maybe we should look towards affording them better protection, throughout the season and not just until May 12th, as well as the bigger sea trout. Would anglers be prepared to do this or do they feel like they are doing enough and want to see more protection from poaching, pollution etc? Would anglers feel that enforcing extra rules on them is the easy option and oppose any change to the current policy? Do most anglers feel they are lucky enough to catch one or two and should be allowed to keep what they want? Or, are a lot of anglers waiting for reform of any sort and would be more than happy to oblige and release all hen fish and bigger cock fish?

At the end of the day, only a combined effort from all is going to conserve stocks for the future.
 
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Loxie

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The first question I would ask would be what do you hope to achieve. CR of rod caught fish generally will make no difference. Only on rivers with a tiny spawning stock will it have any noticeable effect. If you hope that by introducing more restrictions to rod angling you will generate larger runs of salmon inthe future I fear you will be disappointed. If you want anglers to be seen to be doing their bit then fair enough but I personally think only anglers will appreciate this nicety and it will have little impact on policy makers. I would also add that imposing general solutions to specific problems rarely works in anything. When looking to enhance stocks it's best to look at what has caused the decline in the first place. Addressing the varied causes on a catchment by catchment basis having identified them first is really the only sensible solution. The danger with increasing CR is that it gives managers a wholly false sense that they are doing something positive while at the same time reducing the number of legitimate anglers on rivers.
 

riffled hitch

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The first question I would ask would be what do you hope to achieve. CR of rod caught fish generally will make no difference. Only on rivers with a tiny spawning stock will it have any noticeable effect. If you hope that by introducing more restrictions to rod angling you will generate larger runs of salmon inthe future I fear you will be disappointed. If you want anglers to be seen to be doing their bit then fair enough but I personally think only anglers will appreciate this nicety and it will have little impact on policy makers. I would also add that imposing general solutions to specific problems rarely works in anything. When looking to enhance stocks it's best to look at what has caused the decline in the first place. Addressing the varied causes on a catchment by catchment basis having identified them first is really the only sensible solution. The danger with increasing CR is that it gives managers a wholly false sense that they are doing something positive while at the same time reducing the number of legitimate anglers on rivers.

Well said
C&R can help but will never be the savior of atlantic salmon stocks in the uk and Ireland or anywhere else
And of course royal deeside is a shinning example of how well a total release policy works well.

What it does do is let's the outsiders looking in on our sport see that at least the anglers are willing to do something to help try and stop the decline on some rivers
 
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reddie

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The first question I would ask would be what do you hope to achieve. CR of rod caught fish generally will make no difference. Only on rivers with a tiny spawning stock will it have any noticeable effect. If you hope that by introducing more restrictions to rod angling you will generate larger runs of salmon inthe future I fear you will be disappointed. If you want anglers to be seen to be doing their bit then fair enough but I personally think only anglers will appreciate this nicety and it will have little impact on policy makers. I would also add that imposing general solutions to specific problems rarely works in anything. When looking to enhance stocks it's best to look at what has caused the decline in the first place. Addressing the varied causes on a catchment by catchment basis having identified them first is really the only sensible solution. The danger with increasing CR is that it gives managers a wholly false sense that they are doing something positive while at the same time reducing the number of legitimate anglers on rivers.

Evening Loxie,
As I said in my post, C&R should not be solely used with the intention of boosting stocks as that does not work. It can only be used to conserve stocks and will only help improve stocks if used with a suite of other fishery management practises, especially if all hen fish and bigger cock fish are released. As you say, identifying and addressing problems causing decline, such as habitat loss, water quality, etc, need to be carried out. However, when C&R is used in conjunction with an array of other catchment improvements, than I think the run of fish can be improved upon faster. On the Ness system, the recent improvement in spring runs has been put down to the increase of C&R of MSW spring fish.
Out of interest, what do you make of the C&R of hen fish and bigger cock fish in these rivers? Are the anglers actions of releasing these fish in vain?
 

Loxie

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Evening Loxie,
As I said in my post, C&R should not be solely used with the intention of boosting stocks as that does not work. It can only be used to conserve stocks and will only help improve stocks if used with a suite of other fishery management practises, especially if all hen fish and bigger cock fish are released. As you say, identifying and addressing problems causing decline, such as habitat loss, water quality, etc, need to be carried out. However, when C&R is used in conjunction with an array of other catchment improvements, than I think the run of fish can be improved upon faster. On the Ness system, the recent improvement in spring runs has been put down to the increase of C&R of MSW spring fish.
Out of interest, what do you make of the C&R of hen fish and bigger cock fish in these rivers? Are the anglers actions of releasing these fish in vain?

My personal view is that releasing MSW is just a good thing to do, particularly previous spawners and very big hens. I have a suspicion that it makes very little difference though. The evidence does not support MSW's breeding more MSW's, but more and bigger eggs are better than fewer smaller eggs, in my view. Anyway there is little to loose and much to gain by trying. I don't think cocks make much difference either way, but again I dont know and personally would choose not to kill large cocks. I think I would be against enforcement of new restrictions but In favour of eduction to improve general attitudes to salmon. Kill a couple to eat by all means, preferably smaller fish, but don't just kill them because you can. Return good breeders, red fish and more than you actually need and the rest is fine.
 

octopus

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Only on rivers with a tiny spawning stock will it have any noticeable effect.

I think we're getting to that stage on a lot of rivers. Some tributaries may only have a handful of fish still returning to them.
Like the rest of you I'm not against taking a fish, a nice grilse is good for me.
 

seeking

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Before rushing to ask anyone to force any such legislation etc. on anglers, you need to do two things:

1. Provide evidence of harm caused by harvesting salmon by rod and line. To my knowledge none exists, and there is plenty of evidence otherwise (otherwise why would recovering rivers have recovered when much of the catch was chapped?)

Secondly,

2. Provide evidence that C&R actually has any tangible benefit. Ditto, again. Long-term C&R experiments (Abs Dee, EA-pre 16th June) indicate there is no quantifiable "conservation" benefit. The opposite is probably arguable however.

It's easy for folk to say "C&R can help" but in reality, it cannot, since the maths doesn't add up. It certainly cannot be shown to benefit salmon, other than stop folk fishing for them as much.

If there is a problem with salmon stocks - and again in order to demonstrate that you need good evidence: e.g. validated counter data, flow data. Any rod catch data must be coupled to rod effort data to help assess whether fluctuation in rod catches reflects variation in rod effort (ditto weather etc.).

Without providing any of this, stakeholders are being deceived and having their basic human rights restricted.
 

JRP39

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Personally, I think catch and release on most river systems makes no difference at all. All this obsession with more and more c&r is just diverting attention from tackling the real reasons why salmon are struggling. C&R is just typical politics, makes it look like the various bodies are doing something, when they are actually doing nothing. And of course it costs nothing either, apart from paying a few scientists to do a load of meaningless "studies".

Most people are putting more and more of their fish back voluntarilly anyway, imposing more and more regulations is just a pointless waste of time. Unfortunately I don't think anything is going to change, we'll still be banging on about c&r when there's no salmon left.
 

reddie

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Before rushing to ask anyone to force any such legislation etc. on anglers, you need to do two things:

1. Provide evidence of harm caused by harvesting salmon by rod and line. To my knowledge none exists, and there is plenty of evidence otherwise (otherwise why would recovering rivers have recovered when much of the catch was chapped?)

Secondly,

2. Provide evidence that C&R actually has any tangible benefit. Ditto, again. Long-term C&R experiments (Abs Dee, EA-pre 16th June) indicate there is no quantifiable "conservation" benefit. The opposite is probably arguable however.

It's easy for folk to say "C&R can help" but in reality, it cannot, since the maths doesn't add up. It certainly cannot be shown to benefit salmon, other than stop folk fishing for them as much.

If there is a problem with salmon stocks - and again in order to demonstrate that you need good evidence: e.g. validated counter data, flow data. Any rod catch data must be coupled to rod effort data to help assess whether fluctuation in rod catches reflects variation in rod effort (ditto weather etc.).

Without providing any of this, stakeholders are being deceived and having their basic human rights restricted.

Morning Seeking,

Thanks for chipping in here with your post. You have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to C&R so your input here greatly improves the debate on this post!

With regards to your questions:

1. Flipping that question around, where is the evidence that C&R does any damage? These rivers with improved runs, whilst fish were still being killed, I can only assume had restoration work done such as improved spawning habitat, improved passage, closed coastal netting etc etc. If this these rivers had adopted higher C&R rates, who's to say the runs wouldn't have improved quicker?

2. I have found evidence that C&R of salmon does have benefit but have not found how it directly influences catches as there seems to be a dearth of studies published on this. The following links show that, on rivers where C&R was adopted, electro fishing surveys showed higher densities of juvenile salmon than those rivers where fish were killed.

http://www.oldsalmon.ca/docs/uploads/Whoriskey-ponoi-live.pdf

"Parr numbers at all monitored sites have been steadily increasing since the advent of catchand-release fishing. By contrast, parr growth rates are generally unchanged or significantly better."

http://www.nasco.int/pdf/implementation_plans/IP_Russia.pdf


"On the whole, current parr densities in rivers of the Barents Sea basin are rather high without any notable declining trends, particularly, where ‘catch-and-release’ is applied."

http://www.atlanticsalmontrust.org/assets/files/HCA%20and%20PK%20on%20C%20and%20R.pdf

"In Sautso, Norway, 97% of radio tagged salmon survived hook and release, and the number of spawning redds more than doubled after the introduction of compulsory release of all angled salmon in the region in 1998 (Thorstad et al., 2002)".

From what I can see, this shows that C&R does help and benefit salmon BUT should not be used as an excuse to do nothing else. It would have to be done in conjunction with other fisheries management practices.

With regards to the affect of folk not fishing for them as much or stripping them of their basic human rights, that is why I think C&R of certain sized fish could help the most and be regarded as a compromise. Why not release salmon over 65cm(7/8lbs) and be free to keep a set number of smaller fish? Supply tape measure with logbooks when lads buy licenses. Now, I'm not saying kill every grilse just because you can. But, there are undeniable benefits from spawning MSW salmon such as bigger and more eggs. These eggs produce bigger fry which have the advantage in competition for territories plus are less prone to starvation meaning they are more likely to reach the smolting stage if the habitat is adequate.
 
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Jockiescott

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Seeking, it is very difficult to get the information in Ireland. It is supposed to be an offence to buy a license to fish and not submit a catch return. Not only a catch return but the days and hours you have spent fishing. This is much easier to get on rivers where you buy a days fishing or only fish a few times a year. The way angling is in Ireland, with more clubs etc, a person could be at the river 4 or 5 times a day, every day, for the entire season. To record each time you went to the river you'd need a journal to submit.

Most returns only have a record of the fish caught, which is important information too. In saying that, the Loughs Agency, my license supplier, published information just last week that of all the licenses issued in 2015, only 16% of those submitted a catch return.

They will now roll out an online system where anglers will get a unique ID and if no return is made then there will be no license issued the following year. All this will do will increase the percentage of returns. The 'quality' of the information will still be completely useless. Of the 16% I mentioned above, a fair few of those will have submitted a 'nil' return even though they caught and kept fish. Even more of those will have submitted a return with 8 salmon on it. Why? Because we got carcass tags for 8 fish last season.

I do think it's a bit dangerous to 'tell' people they must release fish. I have heard of people who release fish in rivers where they have to choice to keep them or not but kill fish on C&R rivers because no one will tell them what to do with their fish! :rolleyes: :(

In an ideal world we would have accurate data to work from. The fact is, we don't. Our counter figures are as good as we can get. Unfortunately these numbers are plummeting on most rivers and this is reflecting what we are seeing on our rivers.

While I am all for releasing more fish and completely against 100% C&R, 'telling' people they must release their fish can have a childish, opposite, effect.

I would dearly love if more anglers would release more of the double figure fish and most, if not all, of their hen fish. Not because I think it is a saviour for our salmon but because I can't really seeing it doing any harm.

By all means keep fish and enjoy them. keeping 5, even 10, fish a season per angler isn't really an inconvenience in my own opinion. It should offer the best of both worlds. Unfortunately the "...no one will tell me what to do with my fish..." brigade are a lot more common than many would think, or hope.
 

keirstream

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"Parr numbers at all monitored sites have been steadily increasing since the advent of catchand-release fishing. By contrast, parr growth rates are generally unchanged or significantly better."

You would expect more spawners to produce more parr, wouldn't you?
Followed by a sweeping unqualified statement. How many of these super parr survived to return to the river as adults though? That is the real question needing to be addressed.



"On the whole, current parr densities in rivers of the Barents Sea basin are rather high without any notable declining trends, particularly, where ‘catch-and-release’ is applied."

Another sweeping unqualified statement.



"In Sautso, Norway, 97% of radio tagged salmon survived hook and release, and the number of spawning redds more than doubled after the introduction of compulsory release of all angled salmon in the region in 1998 (Thorstad et al., 2002)".

Possibly the Daddy of them all. Did the redds double from 1 to 2 or 1000 to 2000?

From what I can see, this shows that C&R does help and benefit salmon BUT should not be used as an excuse to do nothing else. It would have to be done in conjunction with other fisheries management practices.

All interesting stuff and on the face of it, impressive reading.
However, they would say that, wouldn't they?
We all know the dictum regarding statistics describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.
In every situation on the report, there are general sweeping statements made to develop the impact of the blindingly obvious. Yes, by all means do a bit of C & R, return fish you either don't need or are not fit to eat anyway. It's good for the soul to do so and may make you feel better that you have done your bit. Everyone I know does exactly that for various reasons and wherever you look in Scotland up around the 85% mark.
What we don't need is compulsion. Voluntary codes are what we want, people will buy in to that and continue to pump revenue into the sport.
Compulsory rulings will drive people away.
C & R doesn't help returning adult stocks as demonstrated on the Dee.
It certainly does not help revenue streams as also shown in the Dee and last season on the Earn where CAT 3 drove people off the river, leaving our clubs with holes in their reserves.
Voluntary C & R was working just fine up until that point.
If we could increase our parr output fivefold would we get a fivefold increase on adult returns given all the predation in river and God knows what else beyond our shores?
The problem is not within our streams and rivers other than rampant uncontrolled predation, and all the propaganda trying to convince us otherwise is just nonsense.:(
 
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nore fly

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We are about to hit 2017...ten years on from the drift net ban...have our river's filled with fish since then ?? ...let's be frank ,that was bigger than any c&r experiment . ....we are now playing with crumbs ....how many salmon were caught twice maybe three times on c&r rivers... .and counted as different fish caught..... someone somewhere is harvesting the fish returning to our river's... the only answer is to get salmon off menus and out of fridges and convince Joe public to stop eating salmon...
 

KerrySalmon

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C and R

Looking at the differing opinions it is obvious that most believe that it will not have any effect. This is quite true where a river is exceeding its conservation limit. If a river has a healthy surplus and is subject to mandatory catch and release it will have an effect on genetic diversity but not on population size. The parr situation can only increase in a river where the capacity was originally compromised. In rivers with low stocks below conservation limits it is evident that releasing fish will help it reach its conservation limit. Angling pressure will not affect stocks unless illegality takes place whereby more than the surplus is taken out and that is why brown tags are employed.
C and R does allow us to feel good and that we are doing something but this is a moral argument. Saying this,it is my view that unseasonable fish should be returned from mid summer as nobody can seriously contemplate removing stale fish from the stock but again this is a moral rather than scientific argument.
 

seeking

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Understood Jockiescott - Ireland is also data deficient, and in terms of effort, really so.


Morning Seeking,

Thanks for chipping in here with your post. You have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to C&R so your input here greatly improves the debate on this post!

With regards to your questions:

1. Flipping that question around, where is the evidence that C&R does any damage? These rivers with improved runs, whilst fish were still being killed, I can only assume had restoration work done such as improved spawning habitat, improved passage, closed coastal netting etc etc. If this these rivers had adopted higher C&R rates, who's to say the runs wouldn't have improved quicker?

2. I have found evidence that C&R of salmon does have benefit but have not found how it directly influences catches as there seems to be a dearth of studies published on this. The following links show that, on rivers where C&R was adopted, electro fishing surveys showed higher densities of juvenile salmon than those rivers where fish were killed.

http://www.oldsalmon.ca/docs/uploads/Whoriskey-ponoi-live.pdf

"Parr numbers at all monitored sites have been steadily increasing since the advent of catchand-release fishing. By contrast, parr growth rates are generally unchanged or significantly better."

http://www.nasco.int/pdf/implementation_plans/IP_Russia.pdf


"On the whole, current parr densities in rivers of the Barents Sea basin are rather high without any notable declining trends, particularly, where ‘catch-and-release’ is applied."

http://www.atlanticsalmontrust.org/assets/files/HCA%20and%20PK%20on%20C%20and%20R.pdf

"In Sautso, Norway, 97% of radio tagged salmon survived hook and release, and the number of spawning redds more than doubled after the introduction of compulsory release of all angled salmon in the region in 1998 (Thorstad et al., 2002)".

From what I can see, this shows that C&R does help and benefit salmon BUT should not be used as an excuse to do nothing else. It would have to be done in conjunction with other fisheries management practices.

With regards to the affect of folk not fishing for them as much or stripping them of their basic human rights, that is why I think C&R of certain sized fish could help the most and be regarded as a compromise. Why not release salmon over 65cm(7/8lbs) and be free to keep a set number of smaller fish? Supply tape measure with logbooks when lads buy licenses. Now, I'm not saying kill every grilse just because you can. But, there are undeniable benefits from spawning MSW salmon such as bigger and more eggs. These eggs produce bigger fry which have the advantage in competition for territories plus are less prone to starvation meaning they are more likely to reach the smolting stage if the habitat is adequate.

Hello Reddie:D

1. Per Keirstream's reply I think the damage C&R does is not so much that it harms fish and makes them less good at spawning (a thermodynamically unarguable fact) than they would have been had they not been angled (although of course they have more chance of spawning success than if they had been angled and chapped!:rolleyes: ) because it's still small beer, statistically. It doesn't really matter seemingly because angling is so inefficient anyway and affects such a small percentage of the total population as to be meaningless.

No the damage it does is where only rod catches (with no effort index) are used to guesstimate stocks (i.e. just about everywhere!), then reducing the number of anglers on the banks (or reporting the fish caught) is a major problem and the main harm C&R has actually done.

Of course the flipside is "well just think how bad it would have been without it" but again, that's really not a scientific argument. And the kind of circular argument I'd rather avoid.

On this, the second issue of note is that it encourages the consumption of farmed salmon. When the SCS dish up farmers at their AGM meals, one knows that the real issue is not C&R!


2. I'm sorry, but even uncle Keirstream (no offence to him given he's a clever and well experienced salmon man and not a Super Duper Ph(u)D like them wot wrote the papers you quote) has spotted the holes in the "science" you presented. Unfortunately those papers are guff. No baseline data comparisons, no evaluation of other factors (e.g. normal 100% annual population fluctuations, flow data, etc.) that could have caused the observed phenomena. Problem is the authors could potentially be seen to have had an a-priori bias that is not corrected for by long-term monitoring data or alternative explanations...

In reality if you take the Dee or N Esk annual spawner - lagged smolt data, you can see that the relationship between the two is never linear or proportionate, as Messrs Whoriskey et al assumed...

The authors also appear, to my mind at least, to be heavily swayed towards the SCS "It's All At Sea" and "Climate Change Will Extinct The Salmon" ideologies recently debunked.

Personally I'm agin forcing people, especially working people, off the rivers. Especially in these days when they face the biggest threats they ever have, and fewer and fewer are fishing anyway. I realise "poaching" is a different kind of issue and concern over there than it may be where I am but that's something else entirely.

Something some people seem hell bent on doing just that, though, especially on the back of poor data and even worse analysis!

Unfortunately, C&R is being used just as an excuse to do nothing else. The EA 5 point plan, Like the ScotGov Consultation and Conservation Measures, is a load of waffle. They've failed to protect our rivers (in reality this is a failure of the EU's making) and now they just want to go after anglers...

So as I see it the two points, made in my first contribution to this thread, stand: for it to be just, there needs to be a good explanation and clear argument, otherwise stakeholders will just feel trampled on (by well-heeled brogues:confused: ) and disenfranchised...
 

GeeBee

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yes. I'd like to see 100% C&R for five seasons. I'd like to see the response to 3 million anglers not 'taking one for the pot'. if numbers are boosted greatly then we know we're the part of the problem, if they don't bounce back then we know its something else.

I'd also not open the season until March 1st and not close it until December 15th.

I'd also like to see pro-active fisheries management during the season such as they have in the Western US - WA, CA, OR etc and BC, if the water is too low and too warm, all fishing ceases.

our summers are increasingly dry, and the last few summers even when rain has come the salmon have not - they are running later and later in my view, and in very low water the salmon are very easily targeted in the deep pools with a shrimp or a worm, so what few fish are around are mostly taken.

I realize the above may not be a popular view, but having seen Striped Bass come back in New England after a moratorium, Redfish come back in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and Wild Winter Steelhead come back on the Skagit River in Washington State after a six year closure, I'd like to see C&R given a proper chance, not a wishy washy 'experiment' for a few months in the early season when no-one much are fishing.

Cheers

GB
 
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JRP39

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Why is it that anglers should be the ones to be penalised? (of course we all know the answer to that). It would be far more effective to ban netting for salmon for five years, eliminate illegal netting, cull a few thousand seals, cormorants, gooseanders etc, and ban salmon farming in sea lochs. But of course none of these things will ever happen, so we'll just keep banging on about c&r won't we?

Personally, I'd be quite happy to fish total c&r for five years, if all netting (legal and otherwise) was stopped for the same period. Until then, I'll continue keeping the odd one or two to eat.
 
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Loxie

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yes. I'd like to see 100% C&R for five seasons. I'd like to see the response to 3 million anglers not 'taking one for the pot'. if numbers are boosted greatly then we know we're the part of the problem, if they don't bounce back then we know its something else.

I'd also not open the season until March 1st and not close it until December 15th.

I'd also like to see pro-active fisheries management during the season such as they have in the Western US - WA, CA, OR etc and BC, if the water is too low and too warm, all fishing ceases.

our summers are increasingly dry, and the last few summers even when rain has come the salmon have not - they are running later and later in my view, and in very low water the salmon are very easily targeted in the deep pools with a shrimp or a worm, so what few fish are around are mostly taken.

I realize the above may not be a popular view, but having seen Striped Bass come back in New England after a moratorium, Redfish come back in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and Wild Winter Steelhead come back on the Skagit River in Washington State after a six year closure, I'd like to see C&R given a proper chance, not a wishy washy 'experiment' for a few months in the early season when no-one much are fishing.

Cheers

GB

With saltwater species the limiting factor is egg deposition. With freshwater species the limiting factor is juvenile habitat. In the U.K., and I accept Ireland is a little different, CR rates are indistinguishable from 100% in practice and it makes no difference. With draconian enforcement of total CCR you might get 2% more spawners. Why would you think that could possibly make any difference?
 

reddie

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Understood Jockiescott - Ireland is also data deficient, and in terms of effort, really so.




Hello Reddie:D

1. Per Keirstream's reply I think the damage C&R does is not so much that it harms fish and makes them less good at spawning (a thermodynamically unarguable fact) than they would have been had they not been angled (although of course they have more chance of spawning success than if they had been angled and chapped!:rolleyes: ) because it's still small beer, statistically. It doesn't really matter seemingly because angling is so inefficient anyway and affects such a small percentage of the total population as to be meaningless.

No the damage it does is where only rod catches (with no effort index) are used to guesstimate stocks (i.e. just about everywhere!), then reducing the number of anglers on the banks (or reporting the fish caught) is a major problem and the main harm C&R has actually done.

Of course the flipside is "well just think how bad it would have been without it" but again, that's really not a scientific argument. And the kind of circular argument I'd rather avoid.

On this, the second issue of note is that it encourages the consumption of farmed salmon. When the SCS dish up farmers at their AGM meals, one knows that the real issue is not C&R!


2. I'm sorry, but even uncle Keirstream (no offence to him given he's a clever and well experienced salmon man and not a Super Duper Ph(u)D like them wot wrote the papers you quote) has spotted the holes in the "science" you presented. Unfortunately those papers are guff. No baseline data comparisons, no evaluation of other factors (e.g. normal 100% annual population fluctuations, flow data, etc.) that could have caused the observed phenomena. Problem is the authors could potentially be seen to have had an a-priori bias that is not corrected for by long-term monitoring data or alternative explanations...

In reality if you take the Dee or N Esk annual spawner - lagged smolt data, you can see that the relationship between the two is never linear or proportionate, as Messrs Whoriskey et al assumed...

The authors also appear, to my mind at least, to be heavily swayed towards the SCS "It's All At Sea" and "Climate Change Will Extinct The Salmon" ideologies recently debunked.

Personally I'm agin forcing people, especially working people, off the rivers. Especially in these days when they face the biggest threats they ever have, and fewer and fewer are fishing anyway. I realise "poaching" is a different kind of issue and concern over there than it may be where I am but that's something else entirely.

Something some people seem hell bent on doing just that, though, especially on the back of poor data and even worse analysis!

Unfortunately, C&R is being used just as an excuse to do nothing else. The EA 5 point plan, Like the ScotGov Consultation and Conservation Measures, is a load of waffle. They've failed to protect our rivers (in reality this is a failure of the EU's making) and now they just want to go after anglers...

So as I see it the two points, made in my first contribution to this thread, stand: for it to be just, there needs to be a good explanation and clear argument, otherwise stakeholders will just feel trampled on (by well-heeled brogues:confused: ) and disenfranchised...

Seeking and Keirstream,

Great responses by both of ye and in fairness I was scraping the barrel by putting those links up. From my evening browse of the net, I really can't find the stats to back up the improvements on salmon stocks as a consequence of C&R. From what I see, you have looked high and low also Seeking!! There is a dearth of information on it and it is a pity that the statements on the links I did post couldn't be backed up with factual studies.

Catch stats have to be taken with a pinch of salt when used to evaluate stock levels, even with effort indexes. Recording effort by days is not he way to go and its hard to quantify, as Jockiescott touched upon. Also, the argument of "how bad would it have been without C&R" is useless and gets you no where.

Looking at the replies in general, compulsory C&R of any size fish is not needed, on more productive rivers comfortably exceeding their CL at least. But, the poll does suggest that revision of our current C&R policy would be welcomed. Encouraging C&R, especially of hen salmon and bigger fish on rivers just above the CL limit and below, is not a waste of time in my opinion and could be supported more. Yes, some rivers may be restricted to C&R before May 12th to protect earlier running MSW fish, but the problem there is that early runs are so poor that barely any fish are protected. Affording hen and large fish protection throughout the season would yield more potential benefits. I do believe every bit helps in this regard but of course the bigger picture must be looked at and problems affecting habitat need to be remedied in the hope of any meaningful results transpiring. Anything which deters anglers from rivers, such as too many enforced rules which are not backed up with a clear, factual argument, is not needed and does more harm than good.

On the other hand, should C&R be encouraged because we are all killing the salmon willing to take our size 14 cascade shrimps, thus minimising future catchability!?:eek::p

Fast and behavior-selective exploitation of a marine fish targeted by anglers : Scientific Reports

Unfortunately, as might have been expected, none of us have mentioned sea trout. For what it's worth, as has been talked about at the recent Sea Trout Symposium, I do think that these should be treated differently with separate logbooks and regulations. There is so much unknown about Irish sea trout and the numbers which run our rivers...
 
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KerrySalmon

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Catch and Release

To demonstrate where problems are all you have to look at is the two stations in Ireland which are capable of counting entire runs physically both adults and smolt output. Burishoole and The Bush have such facilities where declining rates of survival at sea are dramatic. The level of smolt production can and does fall through environmental factors such as habitat shock or natural disasters like increased flooding etc. However the survival rate at sea over the past decade has deviated from a low of under 3% to a high of 13%. Survival rates back a number of decades were up to 35%.
Climatic factors both direct and indirect with increased abuse of pelagic fisheries all play their part. A question that must be asked is whether climate in this part of the Europe in the freshwater environment is affecting the fitness of smolts. It is generally agreed that there is an increase in younger smolts coming from these areas ?(with warming) and is also agreed that their survival is not as good as a two or three year old smolt.
The suggestion that we should eliminate natural predators at sea is a bit like saying that we are the arbiters of the natural world and can control it. I would agree that certain invasive species like mink should be eradicated and that cormorants should be controlled within river systems but predation is a necessary piece to the jig saw of a salmon's life and survival, this is why predator avoidance is poor amongst hatchery fish. The situation with dolphins comes to mind in that we appear to have lots of them now and these mammals can cause huge damage. Their apparent rise in numbers inshore may point to problems in the ocean environment. If there is a decline in prey fish inshore during the smolt run the smolts may be targeted more robustly than before also.
Overall salmon are in decline and catch and release may help but only where there is a shortage of fish and not in rivers where there is a surplus. If we sanctioned 100% catch and release we still would not see any real benefit in our rivers. In Ireland unlike the UK (Legal) we have taken these steps on under performing rivers which have not seen a dramatic increase but probably has stemmed or slowed their decline.
 

GeeBee

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If we sanctioned 100% catch and release we still would not see any real benefit in our rivers. In Ireland unlike the UK (Legal) we have taken these steps on under performing rivers which have not seen a dramatic increase but probably has stemmed or slowed their decline.

haven't the Argideen and other west cork rivers seen a bounce back ?
 

reddie

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A question that must be asked is whether climate in this part of the Europe in the freshwater environment is affecting the fitness of smolts. It is generally agreed that there is an increase in younger smolts coming from these areas ?(with warming) and is also agreed that their survival is not as good as a two or three year old smolt.

Of 51 one scale samples taken from salmon on the Bandon in 2015 (June - September):

17.65% of fish had a smolt age of 1.
78.43% had a smolt age of 2.
3.92% had a smolt age of 3.

If I remember correctly from a Salmon Watch Ireland conference, it has been noted that smolts are emigrating earlier in the spring which is leading to decreased marine survival.

Evidence of changing migratory patterns of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts in the River Bush, Northern Ireland, and possible associations with climate change.
 

KerrySalmon

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Of 51 one scale samples taken from salmon on the Bandon in 2015 (June - September):

17.65% of fish had a smolt age of 1.
78.43% had a smolt age of 2.
3.92% had a smolt age of 3.

If I remember correctly from a Salmon Watch Ireland conference, it has been noted that smolts are emigrating earlier in the spring which is leading to decreased marine survival.

Evidence of changing migratory patterns of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts in the River Bush, Northern Ireland, and possible associations with climate change.
Yes that was mentioned as a possible mismatch in run time whereby the ocean environment might not be optimum
The sample is not statistically robust to draw conclusions
Another factor is one where smolt run can be delayed and this factor appears to result in a very negative effect on survival
One other factor may be a perceived increase in main stream spawning whereby smolts may experience quicker growth and earlier smoltification
 
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