Wild salmon need more protection

Dramatic demise is cause for alarm

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

A chara, – I congratulate the efforts to protect the endangered Atlantic salmon by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) featured in Marese McDonagh’s article (“Salmon fishing continues on the Moy”, Environment, May 7th).

As a fisherman for 60 years, it is a cause of great alarm to have witnessed the recent dramatic demise of this iconic wild fish. The IFI’s conservation efforts are to be commended, but do they go far enough?

Dr Cathal Gallagher of the IFI has described the “catastrophic collapse” in the numbers of returning salmon to our rivers and lakes.

Every one of the returning fish should be protected, in particular the genetics of the larger and rarer multi-sea-winter salmon. Surely a move to catch-and-release and a ban on the killing of salmon across all rivers should be enforced by the IFI.

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Methods of fishing such as worming, that do not allow the safe release of salmon, should also be banned.

Each Atlantic salmon river in Ireland holds a unique genetic strain of fish that has evolved in that system since the Ice Age. It is too valuable a part of our island’s heritage and culture to watch disappear, while the statutory body charged with their protection employs minimal interventions. – Yours, etc,

SEAN MacMANMON,

Straffan,

Co Kildare.

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