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The Ulster Angling Federation Federation of 55 angling clubs 7,000 members.

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Presentation on theme: "The Ulster Angling Federation Federation of 55 angling clubs 7,000 members."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Ulster Angling Federation Federation of 55 angling clubs 7,000 members

2 2 Ulster Angling Federation Conference Title; Boosting salmon numbers: is stocking the answer or the problem?

3 3Ulster Angling Federation Fisheries Conservancy Board for N. Ireland Annual Report 1972 Spawning grounds in the Culmore and Ballymoney Rivers were lost through recent drainage schemes. In the case of the latter the Ministry have agreed to provide fry to compensate for the loss of breeding grounds. It is hoped to have gravel restored to the Culmore River. Approximately 592 trout and 37 salmon were removed from the River Main at the fish trap at Randalstown and taken to the Ministry's fish farm at Movanagher for stripping, Fry and fingerlings were placed in the river to ensure that the stocks of fish would not be adversely affected.

4 4Ulster Angling Federation Fisheries Conservancy Board for Northern Ireland Annual Report 1976 As compensatory stocking following a fish kill two years ago in the Lissan Water, a tributary of the Ballinderry River, a total of 45,000 salmon eggs at the eyed ova stage were planted out in the early part of 1976. These were put into artificial redds at suitable sites along the river. It is hoped to carry out an electro fishing survey shortly, when river conditions permit, to get some idea of the survival rates.

5 5Ulster Angling Federation Abundance FactorsDegree of Difficulty Saltwater.1 Sea temp. changes - longer travel distances.Not Possible.2 Diminished/displaced food sourcesNot Possible.3 Climate change effectsNot Possible.4 By catchesDifficult.5 Salmon FarmsModerate Freshwater.1 Water QualityModerate/ Difficult.2 Water Quantity: abstractions/drainageDifficult.3 Physical HabitatModerate/Difficult.4 Climate change effectsNot Possible Exploitation.1 Man; angling, nets, poachingStraightforward.2 Predators; birds, seals, minkStraightforward Stock Enhancement.1 Direct salmon stock enhancementStraightforward

6 Ulster Angling Federation6 What is stocking ? Methods, Scale, Purpose An example of an apparently successful hatchery/stocking programme for the general boosting of fish numbers both for angling but also for the general health of the stock. (Small coastal river in NI) This has been part of a programme of measures, not an isolated alternative, a cure-all.

7 Ulster Angling Federation 7 -River specific broodstock only. -Raised to unfed stage. -Stocking areas identified as having inadequate natural spawning success. -In tandem with habitat conservation/improvement so that it complements natural spawning. -Low cost – angling club voluntary labour. -Low input – no feeding. -Minimal broodstock holding- capture & release within 2 months. -Can mitigate local disaster; e.g. floods.

8 Ulster Angling Federation8 Potential problems May be seen by anglers as the answer to all ills. Broodstock not spawning naturally – can we improve on nature ? Possible in-river genetic variation being compromised – care needed. Benefits Interest; ownership; education. Incentives for bailiffing, fish conservation (catch and release). Raised level of awareness of the importance of general catchment health. Low key, low input, lowish risk, low cost ‘Light Touch’ stocking

9 Ulster Angling Federation9 Natural Spawning the aim Reliance is then upon wild spawning – but many/most rivers ceased to be “wild/natural rivers” long ago – so why are we depending solely on “wild spawning” ? For instance cormorants are doing great damage. Conservation Limits seem to rely on a ‘perfect’ distribution of spawners throughout the river. Habitat conservation & improvement a key element. “Whole river restoration” an ideal aim but almost impossible to achieve in practice.

10 Ulster Angling Federation10 The Gordian Tyne Knot What happened? If stocking was the cause of the rehabilitation of the salmon, happy days ! Off we go with similar schemes elsewhere. If stocking was not the cause of the rehabilitation of the salmon, and the salmon regenerated naturally, then obviously stocking is no problem ! Which is it ?

11 Ulster Angling Federation11 Things Can only Get Better ? To anglers, salmon management sometimes seems to be generated by Mr. Micawber; that is, based on the belief that "something will turn up". Looking at present indicators, something is not going to “turn up”. Therefore, what to do ? I know ! – let’s ask the experts !

12 Ulster Angling Federation12 NASCO document CNL(99)48 Action Plan for Application of the Precautionary Approach “Under the Agreement on Adoption of a Precautionary Approach it is recognised that application of the Precautionary Approach to salmon fishery management is an integrated process that requires, inter alia, that stock rebuilding programmes (including, as appropriate, habitat improvement, stock enhancement and fishery management actions) be developed for stocks that are below their conservation limits.”

13 Ulster Angling Federation13 NASCO document CNL(12)60 Atlantic salmon at sea: Findings from recent research and their implications for management “Many salmon stocks are already below, or far below, their conservation limits. NASCO has agreed that in these circumstances stock rebuilding programmes should be developed.” There is no mention of any stock rebuilding programme in the 2013-2018 NASCO Implementation Plan for Northern Ireland

14 Ulster Angling Federation14 Too many N Ireland rivers have salmon returns regularly below Conservation Limits. Are smolt runs at a maximum? Juvenile surveys indicate this is not so on most rivers. Are we going to “wait for something to turn up” ?

15 Ulster Angling Federation15 The Ulster Angling Federation Is it possible that a twin approach of increased action on those amenable Abundance Factors, coupled with ‘Light Touch’ stocking, could see us through this period of low abundance until natural returns start to increase? Stocking - if not now – when ?

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