In 2017 there have been several reports of non-native Pink Salmon in Galway, Mayo and Donegal rivers. 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. Outside of its native range, the species has established self-sustaining populations in rivers in northern Norway and in the far northwest of Russia. These populations are believed to have originated from stocking programmes undertaken in this part of Russia in the second half of the 20th century.
According to Inland Fisheries Ireland their presence here is a mystery, and they are not believed to have originated from fish farms, as there is no licence to farm Pink Salmon in Ireland.
Large numbers of Pink Salmon are occurring this year in Norway, Iceland and Scotland and the first observation of a pink salmon juvenile from this year’s spawning was recorded on the 20th of November from the River Jolstra in south western Norway.
The arrival of Pink Salmon may affect indigenous salmon populations in the future by, for example, introducing parasites and pathogens in native salmonid fish.
Inland Fisheries Ireland is appealing to the public to be vigilant and to report catches of Pink Salmon with a view to helping to establish the abundance and extent of distribution of the species in Irish waters.
For further information with regard to the identification of this species, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie.