THE first salmon of 2019 has been caught and released on the Lackagh River in Donegal, Inland Fisheries Ireland has confirmed.
Michael McCann of Templeard, Derry, landed the first salmon in the Garden Pool on the Lackagh at 9.25am on New Year’s Day.
The salmon, which weighed approximately five pounds and was caught on a single barbless hook before being released. It was also the first salmon caught and released during International Year of the Salmon which takes place in 2019.
Michael McCann was one of 22 anglers who were fishing on the Lackagh River at the time of the catch. The river is not known for producing the first salmon of the angling season – in 2018, the first salmon was recorded on the River Drowes in Leitrim on January 30 while in 2017 it was caught on the Munster Blackwater, Cork on February 1.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “I would like to congratulate Michael McCann on his catch which is highly coveted by anglers across the country. We are particularly delighted that the first salmon of 2019 was caught and released in a sustainable manner in Donegal in compliance with the 2019 regulations. I would urge anglers to step up their conservation efforts and engage in catch and release angling in 2019. The New Year coincides with International Year of the Salmon which aims to raise awareness of some of the challenges facing salmon stocks across the Northern hemisphere.
“Salmon populations have plummeted in recent years with the number of salmon returning to Irish shores decreasing by over 70 per cent, which is very concerning. We look forward to promoting this global initiative in Ireland which aims to bring people together to share knowledge, raise awareness and take action on how we can ensure the resilience of salmon in Ireland and across the Northern hemisphere.”
International Year of the Salmon is a joint world-wide initiative of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) and the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) alongside other partners across the globe, creating an international framework for collaborative outreach and research. It is hoped that this initiative will raise awareness of what humans can do to ensure salmon and their habitats are conserved and restored against a backdrop of several environmental factors which have contributed to their decline.
The Lackagh River is open to catch and release fishing during the 2019 season. The regulations for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery for 2019 including the list of open, catch and release and closed rivers can be found at: https://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Salmon-Regulations/salmon-regulations.html#tab2.