INLAND Fisheries Ireland has appealed to Cork anglers to be vigilant and report the presence of any Pacific pink salmon in the river systems over the coming months.
In 2017, this non-native fish species unexpectedly appeared in unprecedented numbers in multiple river systems in the south-west, west and north-west of the country.
As pink salmon predominantly have a two-year lifecycle, there is potential for the species to reappear again this year.
Also known as humpback salmon, pink salmon are a migratory species of salmon, native to river systems in the northern Pacific Ocean and nearby regions of the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.
Although a single specimen was first recorded in Ireland in 1973, they were very rare in Irish waters until 2017.
Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “The potential presence of pink salmon in Irish rivers again is of ongoing concern to Inland Fisheries Ireland as its presence in large numbers may negatively impact some of Ireland’s native species such as Atlantic salmon and sea trout as well as estuarine and coastal marine fish species and their associated ecosystems.
"Despite only very limited information being currently available to assess such threats, the climatic and environmental conditions in Ireland are considered quite amenable to facilitate the establishment of Pacific pink salmon populations in Irish river systems.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland has developed an identification guide to help anglers and the general public identify pink salmon. Anglers are asked to report catches of pink salmon to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s 24 hour confidential hotline number – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. As these fish die after spawning, some dead specimens could also be encountered along Irish rivers. Anyone who catches a pink salmon is asked to:
Keep the fish and do not release it back into the water (even in rivers only open for catch and release angling) Record the date & location of capture, and the length and weight of the fish Tag the fish and present it to Inland Fisheries Ireland and a new tag will be issued to replace the tag used Take a photograph of the fish.