The State of Irish Salmon Stocks and The Oceanic Environment: Presentations SWIRL

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Presentations Salmon Watch Ireland Conference April 2018
Presentation by Dr Ciaran Byrne:
The presentation by Inland Fisheries Ireland demonstrates the stock levels as they exist today in Ireland. Unfortunately there has been a steady decline in stocks post 2007 as indicated by the counter network across the country.
It is not a very encouraging situation and is compounded by many factors both in-stream, near coastal and oceanic influences. With Ireland's human population growing aligned with increases in livestock farming and associated habitat compromise we are now really seeing a situation whereby the salmon population may be at risk through our anthropogenic influences. With the proposed expansion of aquaculture our salmon stocks are certainly at a highly increased risk.

One aspect of the presentation showed that we as a nation are still not releasing salmon to the degree of other close at hand countries and our catch and release figures indicate that less than 40% of fish are released.
An interesting statistic is that the average MSW salmon catch is now averaging out at 15% of total catch.
One slight ray of hope is that the counter figures for 2016 and 2017 demonstrate an upward trend which hopefully might herald a somewhat more positive future.
SWIRL April 2018.pdf - Google Drive

Presentation by Dr Ken Whelan
The main emphasis of this presentation was to highlight the knowledge gained over the recent decades in regard to mortality factors of juvenile salmon.
Marine growth rates varied among years, highest growth rates 2002, followed by 2003 and 2009. Lowest growth rates in 2008 (Very poor returns of 1 SW salmon in 2009 and 2 SW in 2010). 2010 saw a good increase in survival for 1 SW fish.
Growth rates during the first period at sea were lowest for salmon of southernmost origin (this would include Ireland). This effectively illustrates that climatic change and altered ocean temperatures are affecting post smolt feeding at entry to ocean and along migration route.
Inter-annual variation in wind fields, and thus the surface currents, altered the migration pathways. (Illustrates how important weather patterns in spring are)
Likely suspects from headwaters to open ocean to be studied to indicate where mortality occurs
Certain areas in ocean where change in migration can be affected to be examined
Sharing the resources of the ocean with mackerel, herring and blue whiting as well as pressures from commercial exploitation of these stocks
Increased mortality strongly linked to impacts of climate change (++Celcius ), SSC’s and changes in the food supply in the ocean
SWIRL Annual Conference April 21st 2018 v3 27.4.18 (1).pdf - Google Drive
 
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