Request for Atlantic salmon conservation initiatives in month of September


Salmon Watch Ireland is asking the angling community to help preserve Atlantic salmon stocks by returning all salmon during the month of September.

The background to this request is that the Atlantic salmon has faced a devastating downward spiral over the last number of decades but the past number of years have demonstrated an accelerated decline. While Salmon Watch Ireland has consistently supported the scientific process involved in managing Ireland's salmon stocks on an individual catchment basis, it is time to consider whether exploitation can continue in September this year, given the perilously poor catches experienced in Ireland and indeed throughout UK and further afield. While forecasting returns of salmon can be difficult there must always be scope to manage stocks on a real time basis and accordingly we will be suggesting major changes to the present way harvesting of salmon is managed.

The advice for 2023 from the Technical Expert Group on Salmon in regard to rivers where surpluses were forecast, appears not to have materialised, and thus we as a conservation body are strongly advising the angling community to think of the next generations of salmon and return fish on a voluntary basis during September. These fish in September are more readily caught by rod and line as they exhibit heightened aggression so releasing fish is your way of demonstrating that you are playing your part in support of wild salmon. While we cannot influence individual attitudes it is hoped that such an initiative may help to get more salmon spawning this coming winter.

The following graphs are taken from TEGOS advice and illustrate that 2022 was the lowest count of grilse on record which will almost certainly be much lower in 2023. The spring was exceptionally poor in 2023 which demonstrates an apparent link to survival at sea during the salmon's first year at sea.