Hatchery International

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New online tool to monitorjuvenile salmon migration

June 28, 2017  By Jane Doe

Earlier this year Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) launched the Smoltrack Project, a new online tool allowing the public to follow the numbers of juvenile salmon making their journey down the River Erriff — the National Salmonid Index Catchment (NSIC). The project is running in five other locations in Europe, increasing knowledge of the survival of young salmon during their migration.

         The three-year European Union-funded North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) project will see IFI work alongside partners in Northern Ireland (River Bush), England (River Tamar), Spain (River Ulla and River Tea) and Denmark (River Skjern).

Traps are used to catch migrating salmon smolts for tagging, before they are released to continue their journey. The daily numbers of salmon smolts are uploaded for online viewing.  

         The agency said the outgoing juveniles are tagged with miniature acoustic transmitters and their migration followed via acoustic listening stations situated at various locations.


         “ This information will help scientists understand the survival rates of salmon smolts during their migration through the lower parts of rivers, estuaries and coastal areas, in addition to providing data on smolt run timing and migration behaviour,” says IFI.

         “The project will provide new data which will inform future salmon management and conservation work.”

In Ireland, tagging is being carried out on salmon smolts from the Black River tributary to the Erriff, which flows through County Mayo and is considered one of the premier salmon fishing rivers in Ireland. Its smolt run typically occurs over six weeks during April and May

To view the online tool for the River Erriff visit: www.fisheriesireland.ie/Fisheries-Research/smoltrack-project.html

— Quentin Dodd

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