What can be done to save Atlantic Irish salmon?
Wild Atlantic salmon are in a perilous and ‘dangerous’ position while conservation measures don’t appear to be working, admitted Inland Fisheries Ireland Chief Executive, Dr. Ciaran Byrne, at Salmon Watch Ireland’s recent conference.
It’s been ten years since the driftnet ban was brought into force, but what has it achieved? Marine survival of salmon has plummeted four-fold from an estimated 20% in the 1980s to just 5% nowadays and the future is looking increasingly bleak. Between marine catches, fish farming and climate change, it is no wonder Atlantic salmon numbers are falling away.
Due to warming temperatures, salmon are now moving further north and feeding on the very edge of the polar ice fields and as the species are forced further north, the danger is that Ireland’s waters will lie only on the edge of habitable waters for salmon.
Are we then in danger of becoming like Spain where, for many anglers, salmon are a fish that can’t be enjoyed as sport anymore? Or if they are, it is in increasingly fewer number.