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Picture of the first reported Pacific pink salmon caught in Ireland this year. It was caught on 27 June in the Ridge Pool in the Moy Fishery, Co Mayo. Inland Fisheries Ireland
inland fisheries

Concerns raised that invasive Pacific pink salmon could pose threat to native species

It’s feared the “aggressive” fish could negatively impact native salmon and trout.

AN ALERT HAS been issued asking anglers and the public to report any sightings of Pacific pink salmon amid fears that the invasive species could pose a threat to native salmon and trout.

Inland Fisheries Ireland has warned that “aggressive” Pacific pink salmon could force Atlantic salmon and trout out of holding pools into smaller channels. 

The state agency, which is responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, is concerned that, if there are large numbers of the non-native species in Irish rivers, it may have negative impacts on Ireland’s salmon and trout populations in the future.

Also known as ‘humpback’ salmon, pink salmon were very rare in Irish waters until 2017 and are believed to have originated from stocking programmes in Russia.

“If Pacific pink salmon become established in Irish rivers, they will be competing with Irish salmon and trout for food and space,” Dr Paddy Gargan of Inland Fisheries Ireland said.

Pink salmon also display aggressive behaviour towards native fish and a large invasion of pink salmon could push out Atlantic salmon and trout from holding pools into smaller channels.

The first reported catch of a Pacific pink salmon in Ireland this year came in the Ridge Pool at Moy Fishery in Co Mayo on 27 June.

pac-pink-2 An example of a male Pacific pink salmon, with a pronounced ‘humpback’. Inland Fisheries Ireland Inland Fisheries Ireland

Anglers across the country are also being asked to report any further catches of Pacific pink salmon to Inland Fisheries Ireland and to assist with research efforts by following these steps:

  • Keep the Pacific pink salmon and do not release it back into the water, even in rivers that are only open for ‘catch and release’ angling.
  • Record the date and location of capture, and the length and weight of the fish.
  • Take a photograph of the fish and keep a copy of the image.
  • Tag the fish and please report it to Inland Fisheries Ireland as soon as possible by telephoning 1890 34 74 24. 

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