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Mystery of Ireland’s escaped farmed salmon

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Staff Writer | October 11, 2017
Calls for stricter licencing laws governing the Irish salmon farming industry have been made after 65 farmed salmon have been caught by in Irish rivers in recent months.
farmed salmon
Seafood   65 farmed salmon escapees
The presence of escapees has been doubly troubling to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) as no escapes of farm salmon have been reported to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (the licensing authority) by salmon farm owners, despite the fact that they have an obligation to report all escapes to the department.

To date, 65 farmed salmon escapees have turned up on the Delphi, Erriff, Kylemore/Dawros, Newport and Bunowen rivers.

The scale of the escape is not fully understood at this time as the majority of fish were caught by anglers who generally only encounter a small proportion of salmon in a river.

IFI scientists are analysing captured fish in an attempt to identify the history and maturity status of the farmed salmon. The outcome from this analysis will assist in understanding the risks to the country’s wild salmon stocks.

Of those examined to date, three males (out of six examined) were mature on capture and had the potential to spawn in the wild and impact the genetic integrity of native salmon stock.

IFI is assessing the risk to wild salmon stocks associated with these escapes in the various catchments which are already under pressure due to significant decreases in salmon runs over the last twenty years.


 

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