• Temperatures in Irish lakes and rivers during last summer’s heatwave reached lethal levels for fish species, notably salmon and trout, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

    The trend was most pronounced in the west of Ireland, according to pilot studies on the risk posed to fish communities by high temperatures which were submitted to the Department of Climate Action and Environment in December. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    Water temperatures in 2018 exceeded the ideal temperature threshold, which is below 20 degrees for cold water fish species – such as Atlantic salmon, brown trout, sea trout and arctic char – across Ireland during the summer.

    Prolonged periods of temperatures above 19 degrees are likely to increase fish mortalities and have a negative impact on species.

    The state agency examined the temperatures in the context of climate change predictions. With climate models predicting a further increase of up to 1.6 degrees in air temperature in the next 30 years, “these weather conditions pose a significant risk to cold water fish in Ireland,” it concluded.

    The highest temperatures during 2018 were in the Owenriff catchment in Co Galway where lethal water temperatures of more than 24.7 degrees were recorded over 13 days. The average temperature registered at 18.6 degrees for June and July, with a maximum temperature of 28 degrees.

    If temperatures continue to increase, sensitive cold water fish species will be at risk

    On the river Erriff in Co Mayo, regarded as a key indicator of the status of salmonid species (which includes trout, salmon and char), a maximum temperature of 25.6 degrees was reached and while cooler than Owenriff, “issues were reported with salmon survival due to high temperatures and low water levels”.

  • The Minister with responsibility for the Inland Fisheries, Tuam based Sean Canney has approved legislation that will govern the wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in 2020. These will come into effect from tomorrow, 1 January 2020.

    Minister Canney says they are opening 82 rivers for salmon / sea trout fishing in 2020. This will allow everyone to share in this important natural resource, for which conservation will be to the fore. Forty one of the rivers will be fully open with a further 41 available on a ‘catch and release’ basis“.

  • Ballina councillors yesterday agreed to send a letter to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine calling for a cull of seals in Killala Bay.

    In a Ballina Municipal District council meeting Cathaoirleach Michael Loftus called for a cull of the mammals, which he believes are contributing to the loss of wild Atlantic salmon in the River Moy.

    “These seals would kill salmon or sea trout sometimes just for fun, other times to eat it,” he said, adding that they are “killing all that is good about the River Moy.”

    The Western People is reporting that the Fianna Fáil Councillor, who is also a member of the Grainne Uaile Sub Aqua Search and Recovery Unit, said he had noticed approximately 150 seals in and around Bartragh Island, in Killala Bay, while out on a search last weekend.

    He said the loss of salmon in the Moy is affecting fishing tourism, which in turn harms the local economy.

  •  The source of the spill that entered the river Moy in Ballina recently must be identified and a prosecution is necessary for the incident not to happen again.

    That’s the view of Independent Ballina councillor Gerry Ginty.

    At this week’s Ballina Municipal District he raised his concerns, but at the same time recognised the swift action of Mayo county council in dealing with the spill  that does not appear to have caused any damage to fish in the famous salmon river.

    Councillor Ginty has been telling Midwest News why it’s now imperative that the source of the spill, is located.

  • Inland Fisheries Ireland is warning that a number of salmon are returning to Irish rivers with an unknown skin disease.

    The fish show signs of bleeding, ulceration and haemorrhaging mainly along the area on the belly and on the head and tail.

    There were reports of affected fish in at least six rivers both on the east and west coast of the country.

    All anglers are being advised not to remove any affected salmon from the water until it is clear what is causing the infection.

    Dr. Paddy Gargan, Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland says it’s unclear at this time what is causing these symptoms.