wild irish smoked salmon [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: wild irish smoked salmon

paul locke
02-12-2004, 03:36 AM
surfing the fishing links i came up with a site www.ummera.com in the irish republic. the coy is ummera smoked products, majoring on wild smoked salmon caught returning from...... it seemed a little ambivalent so i emailed-'how are your salmon caught'. i got the following reply 'our wild salmon are all caught either on the high seas with drift nets or in the estauries with draft nets'. WAIT FOR IT 'it is now no longer legal for rod and line fishermen to sell their catch to us' . AS WE SAY IN ENGLAND "SO THATS ALRIGHT THEN" the irish deep sea trawlers are hoovering up the returning fish heading for the west coast of uk and spain, france germany. they regard catching hundreds of thousands of fish as harvesting a sustainable resource and they have so called scientists to prove it. then the irish tourist board spends millions trying to attract anglers to their depleted rivers. no thinking uk angler will have anything to do with anything irish until this is stopped, as the minister in charge promised a few years ago and then reneged!

02-12-2004, 06:22 AM
Paul, I agree with some of what you say. The Irish drift nets fly right in the face of the notion that fish should be harvested from individually identified, sustainable populations. If you look at the quotas of Irish fish county by county, you will see that Kerry has a disproportionately large share of the total - almost exactly one sixth of the total harvest - yet doesn't itself have any major salmon rivers. Is it just coincidence that Kerry lies at the south-west corner of Ireland, and that all salmon heading for SW England and Wales, as well as the Irish east coast rivers, are likely to concentrate at this point as they turn to swim east? I think not.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is a demand for salmon which needs to be fulfilled somehow. That demand has been hugely inflated by the cheap and readily available farmed fish is recent years, and it isn't going to go away. Would you rather support the vile salmon farming industry by buying their third-rate product? Until a way is found of avoiding the hazards to wild fish populations that they represent, I'd rather not give them a penny of my money. Moreover, there are people who prefer to buy wild salmon, and cutting off the supply of legitimately caught fish will only encourage a resurgence in incidents of large scale poaching, which has reduced in recent years.

I cannot see any objection to draft nets in estuaries. Provided that the rivers have a healthy and self-sustaining run of fish, I believe that a harvest can be taken. Take an example from one place I know a bit; the draft nets in the Killary Harbour in Connemara. These nets take fish destined for two rivers, the Bundorragha system (the Delphi fishery) and the Erriff, that share this estuary. Both have healthy numbers of fish, and I believe they genuinely are a sustainable resource, that can afford moderate cropping. It's worth mentioning that Peter Mantle, the proprietor of the Delphi fishery and one of the leading voices in opposing salmon farms in the area, actually sells smoked salmon taken from these nets. Although he has an interest in ensuring the maximum number of fish return to his river, it appears that he thinks this is the 'least worst' way of satisfying the demand for salmon.

Topher Browne
02-12-2004, 12:50 PM
Hi Gardener,

What are "draft nets in estuaries" (we don't have those over here as far as I know), and how selective are they?

Thanks, TB

02-12-2004, 03:53 PM
Topher, draft nets are quite small nets operated using traditional methods. Typically, one man holds an end of the net on shore, while a small boat goes out, paying the net out behind it, and makes a wide sweep before returning to shore. The net is then hauled in by hand.

These nets operate in the estuary, or even in the tidal stretches of the river, and so only take fish destined for the river(s) that feed that estuary. They are thus much less indiscriminate than the drift netters which operate on the high seas and take salmon heading for any number of rivers including, in the case of the Irish nets, fish destined for other countries. Draft nets may take other estuarine fish, such as mullet or sea bass, but certainly don't kill the numbers of seabirds, dolphins etc that die in drift nets every year. Because the whole process is quite short, I think that anything that is caught in the nets can often be released without too much harm.

Of course, as a rod fisherman, I would ideally like to see an end to all netting. Draft nets can, at certain times of the year and especially in low water conditions, take very large numbers of fish. Nevertheless, the pragmatist in me acknowledges that it remains necessary to have a supply of wild salmon into the commercial market, and as I said to Paul, this seems the least worst system.

paul locke
02-12-2004, 04:09 PM
why not let the fish come home unmolested and 'meet the demand' by rod caught fish?

Willie Gunn
02-12-2004, 04:17 PM
Not a good idea for so many reasons.

Not all anglers show restraint, the expression fishmonger springs to mind.(anglers who fish purely to make money)The use of prawns, shrimps and god knows what else would be used (again)

It is very difficult to pressurise governments to stop high sea fishing if UK anglers are killing and selling fish. Why should the netsmen give up their livelyhoods to give anglers sport.

just don't go there

paul locke
02-12-2004, 04:31 PM
sorry, i dont get it. i own beats on west country rivers where even with most estuary nets gone very few fish appear despite catch and release for first half of season. i would far rather fight with poachers etc when fish are in river than look at empty river because irish have netted everything. what part of 'value of rod caught fish is 20 times value of netted fish' cant people un derstand?

Willie Gunn
02-12-2004, 04:46 PM
I am against the Irish drift nets but I am realistic enough to realise that you cannot persuade governments to ban high seas netting if anglers continue to kill and sell the fish they catch. Each river system must be assessed to see whether it is possible to “take a crop” of salmon by some method. Estuary netting although not ideal has been traditionally carried out by the same families for many generations, it is politically difficult to explain that this man and his family should be made redundant to ensure anglers can catch fish for sport. I am aware of how much a rod caught fish is worth to local economies both job wise and financiall. Recent research has shown that Spey angling is worth £12million a year to the local economy and that nearly 370 jobs depend on it but equally I realise that in politics a compromise must be made somewhere

paul locke
02-12-2004, 05:03 PM
very sorry, i still dont get it. how can we ask faroese and greenlanders to restrict their catches while we net on high seas and coasts? this myth that anglers are the problem is one being promoted by the uk authourities, mainly i suspect to justify their expanding empires of useless jobsworths. the idea that rod fishermen are having any impact on stocks compared to the netsmen is ludicrous. we have had this so called 'real world political attitude' for 50 years now and things just get worse. answer-restrict the rod angler, result decline in salmon, growth in jobsworths. any angler with any brains is boycotting ireland and many scotland also as nonsense like river spey new rules come in.personally norway and russia for me.

Willie Gunn
02-12-2004, 05:18 PM
Please read my replies, I am against nets, all nets. I am also politically astute enough to realise that some things have to be approached slowly and rationally. I can see the Faeroese and Greenland governments resuming netting that was voluntarily given up if Ireland continues to net indiscriminately.
I, in all honesty, cannot see the argument that there should be no netting if anglers continue to kill fish.

Interesting point you raise here,

any angler with any brains is boycotting ireland and many scotland also as nonsense like river spey new rules come in.personally norway and russia for me.

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't Russia total catch and release.

Topher Browne
02-12-2004, 09:13 PM
Thanks Gardener...Hi Paul and Malcolm,

Interesting discussion. It sounds like indiscriminate drift netting is a significant issue; the more discriminate and smaller "net and cobble" fishery in estuaries perhaps less so. I understand Orri Vigfusson has his sights set firmly on the Irish Drift Fishery: I should not wish to bet against him.

I asked about estuarian 'draft' nets only because I know of a couple of rivers over here that are experimenting with in-river 'live traps' to satisfy the requirements of local aboriginal fisheries. The 'live traps' allow large female MSW salmon--the most important spawners--to be released or at least selectively culled. Bad news for male salmon, but good news for salmon overall.

One more question for you gentlemen:

What is the largest and most effective salmon conservation organization in Great Britain, and do they have a stated position on these issues? Is it the Atlantic Salmon Trust? NASCO? The Atlantic Salmon Federation? Other?

Thank you, TB

02-12-2004, 10:39 PM

paul locke
02-13-2004, 03:59 AM
sorry willie gunn, you are not politically astute, you have contributed to this fiction that there is some sort of equality between the positions of the netsmen and the angler. this is rubbish, the scale of the depredations by nets is vastly greater than anything anglers have done.[i deliberately hav'nt answered your red hering about C&R as we are arguing about whether fish should be allowed back to yheir rivers, not yet about what should happen when they get there] the netsmen are poachers under another name. they contribute nothing to the care of the rivers or the fish, and this idea that they are just working class labourers fighting the elements to feed their families is rubbish. someone's been watching too much braveheart! the irish admit to killing in excess of 500,000 fish by nets, imagine what the real total must be! i am told that after your blank weeks fishing 'they' give you a net caught salmon to take home [SO THATS ALRIGHT THEN]

02-13-2004, 06:11 AM
Paul, nobody here (at least neither 'Willie Gunn' nor I) is defending the Irish drift nets. That will be clear if you reread what we have written. It is the small, local draft nets that I, at least, believe should be allowed to continue for now. These are not indiscriminate, and I don't believe that Irish draft nets, unlike the drift nets, take large numbers of fish destined for the West Country rivers or elsewhere. It is important to keep that distinction in mind in this debate.

Rod anglers have been at the forefront of pressure to remove or restrict high-seas netting, but we cannot simply argue for this from a position of self-interest. Conservation of the species is the only really justifiable argument. You must see that there is no sense in suggesting that someone should be prevented from exercising a legal right (netsmen are not, as you allege, poachers under another name), which may form part or all of their livelihood, just so that rod fishermen, who fish for pleasure and almost certainly don't need the money, can step in and take their share of the market. That would be morally bankrupt. I believe we only have a moral right to call for the cessation of netting if we are setting an example by going further than the netsmen in our conservation efforts. I therefore believe it is quite unacceptable for rod fishermen to sell any part of their catch, and am delighted that the Irish government has banned it. In this respect, at least, they are well ahead of England and Wales.

There is a fundamental difference between high-seas netting and netting in estuaries or rivers. The former is indiscriminate and is likely to take fish from places where stocks are endangered. The latter is quite closely targetted at individual runs of fish. Clearly, draft netting should only be carried out where numbers of fish are healthy and stocks are self-supporting. I don't know whether this is the case on those west country rivers that still have estuary or river nets, but there are certainly plenty of Irish rivers that can afford a harvest of fish to the local nets (which is where this thread started).

Topher, interesting point about your fish traps. I believe that draft nets could also be managed so as to favour certain runs of fish. The nets at the mouth of the Hampshire Avon have participated in salmon research for years. Fish taken in the nets have been radio-tagged and released, and monitored up to spawning. So it should certainly be possible to run some form of selective harvesting scheme to promote, say, MSW fish. This cannot be said for drift nets.

Indeed, one of the noticeable things in Ireland is the very small size of fish caught these days. Grilse of no more than 3-31/2lbs now dominate the catch in the rivers I know in Ireland. 30-40 years ago the grilse averaged 5-6lbs. The larger fish are 'sieved' out by the nets, while these runts can get through the mesh (albeit with much net-marking and frequent damage to fins). I fear that this is effectively operating a 'selective breeding' programme which will reduce their size permanently. In theory, I suppose a programme could be instigated in conjunction with the draft netters to reverse this trend, though I fear this will remain just a theory!


Topher Browne
02-13-2004, 12:55 PM
Hi Gardener,

You raise some very interesting points, as always.

With the virtual elimination of a commercial fishery for Atlantic salmon of North American origin, many rivers experienced a significant bump in numbers of returning fish in 2003 (@ 20% and upwards for some systems).

The elimination of the commercial fishery also gives the North American angler the dubious distinction of killing more Atlantic salmon than all other user groups combined: an interesting dilemma for sportfishing conservation organizations at the bargaining tables of the future.

For some interesting commentary on drift nets, see: www.atlanticsalmontrust.org under "News." The Atlantic Salmon Trust is a non-profit organization and a registered charity based in the U.K.

Willie Gunn
02-13-2004, 01:36 PM
Thank you Charlie, you put things much more eloquently than I ever could.
I was tired after another long day fishing the Spey. Today I had the pleasure of Andy Wren’s company but all we could muster were last years models.

paul locke
02-13-2004, 02:22 PM
hi gardener, as usual i totally disagree with what you say. you say you dont defend drift nets but you dont attack {irish boycott } either. you seem happy with status quo. it is not about rod anglers self interest {in your book some kind of rich toff} its about anyone who can add up without taking his socks off seeing where the real value lies and adopting a strategy to achieve the obviously sensible economic position, and conservation instead of slaughter. there are no other conservation issues i can think of where economic benefit goes so clearly with conservation. this cant about morality is just that. the position of netsmen is ' i've been robbing you for many years so i have a'right' to go on robbing you. they dont nurture the eggs or the parr, they dont feed the growing fish, they bring nothing to the party. they harvest immesurably more fish than rod anglers ever did but you talk of morality. i dont see it no thinking rod angler should rest until the last net has been burnt. then you introduce this red herring about individual river systems being harvested selectively, ' give me a break ' netsmen are not choir boys. on same subject govt bodies never seem to introduce anything but blanket restrictions countrywide which seems to militate against your argument that each river should be looked at separately. you seem remarkably complacent about grilse shrinking. we have to get militant- ALL NETS MUST GO or forget angling tourism. i wonder if topher can give us some idea how many fish NA anglers are killing to compare with irish nets.

Willie Gunn
02-13-2004, 03:38 PM
You make some sweeping statements, how do you know what Gardener does or does not do. He has stated that he opposes the Irish drift nets. I oppose the Irish drift nets everyone opposes the Irish drift nets.

Now let us move on and discuss localised netting. This is carried out on rivers that have an excess of salmon. Let us take for example the Thurso River, the Thurso is owned by the same estate; they own all the fishing and the localised netting rights. They subsidise the cost of the rod fishing by net fishing, if there are few fish in the river they keep the nets off.
Your, I use the term loosely, sentence>> . they dont nurture the eggs or the parr, they dont feed the growing fish, they bring nothing to the party. they harvest immesurably more fish than rod anglers ever did but you talk of morality>> In Scotland the net fishermen contribute to the fishery board who decide whether it is better to improve habitat, reduce the “harvest” or build the hatcheries which nurture the eggs etc. Remember hatcheries are not the answer to the salmon’s problems stocking of excess stock to main rivers cause more problems than they alleviate. Strangely the fishery board levy, amount paid, is based on fish caught the nets men’s contributions could be larger than the rod fishermen although they get less seats on the board. Some Scottish boards have found that they are very poor having bought out the nets.

Nets men obviously do not wish to see the demise of salmon runs; they would be out of work and would receive no compensation

paul locke
02-13-2004, 04:04 PM
hi willie gunn, nice to have you back. no i dont know what you or gardener 'do' about high seas nets. BUT as i see it you repeat like a mantra ' of course we disapprove' in about 2 sentences, and then move on to a spread of minutiae defending the present system of estuary nets. if rivers were heaving with fish you might make a case, personally i would rather fish were allowed back into rivers unmolested. BUT the opposite is happenning, our rivers are deteriorating and you both defend the present system, when i believe we should all be making it clear we will boycott these mass killers and the areas or bodies that license them. thurso as the most remote river in uk like russia is not relevant to this discussion. for the record my friends and i have agreed to boycott ireland completely and all things irish, and we boycott those rivers in scotland whose attitude and petty regulations we find distasteful. up till 2 years ago 10 couples in a group spent over 30,000 every april, including guests from abroad. no fish, bad attitude locally and we're out of here, and i know many old regulars feeling the same. regretably thats the spey!

Willie Gunn
02-13-2004, 04:34 PM
You decide what you wish to do, but the Spey river board have decided the future of salmon are more important than anglers taking home a fish. Hence the catch and release rules, the Spey is booked to it's usual level, so you are not really missed.

The Thurso may be a remote river to you but not to me, everything is relative.

I am afraid your attitude that no one may kill any fish so that I can is wrong, selfish, dated, and has no place in modern salmon management.

paul locke
02-13-2004, 04:43 PM
willie gunn, i think you're losing it so we had better close this thread. i never mentioned me killing fish, my argument is get them in the river. i think your horror at thought of angler killing a fish versus your complacency over mass killing of nets is untenable. your complacency over modern river management presiding over the decline of a once great river is awsome.

Willie Gunn
02-13-2004, 04:55 PM
Yes I agree we should stop, one of us understands salmon management and the other has no clue

paul locke
02-13-2004, 05:00 PM
oh dear!

02-18-2004, 11:39 AM
Well Juro (and the rest of you who remeber me)

I'm back after a long absence.

Have a little to contribute to this one.

First off here is a link to a report on the commercial and rod catches in Ireland:


this is a press release and there is a link to the full report (pdf).

Probably the most important thing to take from this is that the figure of 500,000 is a fiction which was floated unchallenged into a reputable angling mag in the UK despite contrary evidence in the public realm.

The next is to notice that the catches have declined as tighter quotas (TACs) have been applied, not as tight as recommended by the scientists but that is a different debate.

After that I'd just like to draw your attention to how commercial drifting operates. It is not a high seas activity - it is inshore, in fact it is confined to the 6 mile limit and any netters outside the limit risk their boat, gear and licence. These fishermen mostly catch salmon of Irish extraction. Tagging studies by EU researchers back this up.

Also in general drift netting is prohibited each night between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. the following morning on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights and from 9 p.m. on Thursday night until 6 a.m. the next following Friday morning. There is no fishing at weekends. The season is very short, from June to the end of July. (Nets are also limited.) These conservation measures were introduced to ensure an "acceptable" (not necessarily to me) escapement of salmon to rivers.

Commercial netting of salmon persists in the UK and Northern Ireland, so to say Ireland is destroying the British salmon stocks is inaccurate and also over looking the domestic threats of pollution and development which are severely impacting on those stocks. The same treats (should include hydro developments here) are the real cause of the salmon's decline in Ireland as well.

for more info and a pic of draft netting in operation see this link


Now having said all that I am not pro netting, but I am a patriot and will not stand by while the Irish blamed for our neighbours' woes. Also I believe that the integrity of this forum requires debate to be based on facts so the information above is for clarity and to give the real background to the situation.

As those who remember me from the old days can testify I am committed to anlging of all kinds and passionate about the conservation of fish and fishing in Ireland.

So back with a bang then!


02-18-2004, 01:25 PM

Great to have you back here with us!

paul locke
02-18-2004, 01:58 PM
hi mylo, welcome back, i cant resist a well presented fly either! we all know about lies and statistics and govt pseudo scientists who tell us farmed salmon is good for us! however accepting for a moment that some of the figures one reads may have been inflated i also dont believe that netsmen to say the least underrecord their catch! i also dont see how they get such precise figures for rod caught fish. however using their last set of figures 2002 13% of salmon { and sea trout, to confuse things } were apparently caught by rod anglers, 2/3 of rod anglers reporting never caught a thing. kerry has the largest quota and catch [ but as gardener posted at the start of this there are no major salmon rivers but it is the corner where ongoing fish to other countries swing left ]. i agree the fisheries board under pressure is setting reduced quotas [ but these are still well above tame scientists sustainable catch ]. your fisheries minister a couple of years ago recognised the problem and said he would stop it, he then reneged and at that point many of us decided to boycott ireland until this slaughter is ended. why cant they see that if the netted fish were free to return, a very small number caught on a rod would more than pay for nets and revive angling tourism. i would even back a special levy on fish caught by visitors, but lets get fish back into rivers and then we can assess C&R or whatever. ps i'm 1/2 irish, this is not anti people its anti govt.

02-19-2004, 02:56 AM
Over here every single salmon (and sea trout over 40cm) has to be tagged and recorded.

This is the case for anglers and netsmen. It reduces the error introduced by "working up" sub samples, but of course is open to abuse by those dedicated to confounding best efforts.

I understand why people take stands on issues like this but believe me, by staying away you only hurt the local angling guides and accommodation providors. The politicos and ministers who perpetuate the problem could care less if you fish here or not.

But anyway... I start my fly season proper on 1 March on my local river. It's just a trout water, but it keeps me entertained. I'll be leaving the salmon alone until the summer comes 'round.

Best of luck to you all in 2004.

Looking forward to getting involved here again.


paul locke
02-19-2004, 04:01 AM
thanks mylo, enjoy your trout fishing. i agree with everything you say but i come to a different conclusion. there will be collateral damage to innocent ghillies and local pubs and services but their protests need to be added to ours to eventually get the polliticos to do something. even they cant enjoy seeing themselves 'slagged' everywhere. as long as they allow netting [ in this case of 6% of WORLDS remaining mature atlantics every year { nat geographic july 2003 ]] zero tolerance until nets are gone!

02-19-2004, 05:42 AM
Has a 'url' to this thread been posted to the UK board?

paul locke
02-19-2004, 06:10 AM
hi fred, thanks for your interest. i am an older generation near computer illiterate, fisherman who is completely lost how to respond [nice change some wil say!] as far as i know URLs are what keep getting people into trouble re sponsors and thats all i know! sorry i cant answer your question, paul

Willie Gunn
02-19-2004, 10:03 AM
Seeing the question of an URL came up I thought it might be a good time to remind you (ex)colonials of the order of things.
Just in case you ever get invited to fish with any of the upper classes.


Titles of nobility in descending order are as follows: duke, marquess (not marquis, except in foreign contexts and occasional Scottish titles), earl, viscount and baron. At first mention, give the formal title (as in Who's Who) eg, the Marquess of Paddington, the Earl of Waterloo, but then Lord Paddington, Lord Waterloo etc. This does not apply to barons, who are always Lord except in the announcement of new baronies. Dukes are always dukes and do not become Lord (eg, the Duke of Rutland). Note style of the 2nd Earl, the 3rd Viscount etc.

Baronesses in their own right or life peeresses are Baroness at first mention, and then Lady (eg, Baroness Thatcher, then Lady Thatcher).

The wife of a duke is a duchess (and is always called Duchess, eg, the Duchess of X); the wife of a marquess is a marchioness, of an earl a countess, of a viscount a viscountess. Use Lady at second and subsequent mentions. The wife of a baronet, eg, Sir John Euston, should be called Lady Euston from the start. Widows or former wives of all these titles who have not remarried use their Christian name before the title, eg, Margaret Duchess of Argyll (no commas). A widow may also be known as the Dowager Duchess of Y, or the Dowager Lady Z.

Apart from royalty (eg, the Duke of York), all these titles take l/c rather than cap after the first mention (eg, the Duke of Argyll, thereafter the duke).

Some titles include a place name , eg, Lord Callaghan of Cardiff, Baroness Jay of Paddington, while others do not. Again, follow Who's Who, where those whose place name must be included appear in bold caps.

Always give the full title at first mention, thereafter the abbreviated form, eg, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, thereafter Lord Bingham. Among titles spelt differently from the place name are the Marquess of Ailesbury, Marquess of Donegall, Earl of Guilford, Earl of Scarbrough.

Take great care with the use of first names with titles, especially the wives of peers, baronets and knights. The wife of Lord St Pancras is simply Lady St Pancras. The wife of Sir John Fenchurch is simply Lady Fenchurch (together, Sir John and Lady Fenchurch). However, when the name is a common one and there is no other convenient identification, or where there is some other compelling reason to give the first name, it is permissible to say Lady (John) Brown (brackets essential; see last sentence of next paragraph).

Baronets and knights are known as Sir John Smith, thereafter Sir John. Again, to repeat this essential point, no wife of a baronet or knight takes her Christian name in her title unless she is the daughter of a duke, a marquess or an earl. If a baronet has had more than one wife, the first wife is, eg, Mary Lady Smith (no commas) - the same form applies to the widow of a baron. If a knight has had more than one wife, the former wife puts her Christian name in brackets, eg, Lady (Alice) Brown, to distinguish her from the present wife, Lady Brown.

Also, if there are two baronets or knights with the same name, their wives (when mentioned apart from their husbands), put his Christian name in brackets, eg, Lady (Stephen) Brown, Lady (Andrew) Brown.

Dames of an order of chivalry take the same style as knights, eg, Dame Felicity Brown, thereafter Dame Felicity. A dame who is married may prefer to use her own style, eg, Dame Margaret Arrowroot, wife of Lord Arrowroot of Nice; personal preferences should be respected.


02-19-2004, 10:32 AM
Thanks Willie, Sir, for clearing that up.

Ah well, as we used to say at the City Livery Club members table, ".....once a Lord, always a lord, once a Knight is enough!"

02-19-2004, 10:35 AM
You had me grinning ear to ear! What at hoot (what we call it here in the colonies).

02-19-2004, 11:01 AM
Malcolm, has anyone determined the correct etiquette if you are fishing the Dee and a member of the royal family appears on the other bank?

You will no doubt recall that story of the lady who dropped a deep curtsey to the Queen Mother when wading down a pool and filled her waders!

Willie Gunn
02-19-2004, 11:19 AM
The story I liked best regarding the queen mother, was from days gone by pre catch and release. An angler foul hooked and landed a fine salmon but seeing, her royal highness the queen mother fishing opposite he immediately returned the fish. He then heard the conversation
QM: - Gillie what is he doing over there?
Gillie: - he just returned a fish Mam
QM: - Dammed fool..

Andy Wren
03-03-2004, 02:11 PM
Who you met a week or so again says thanks for the Hardy spool you pointed us at ,.
Gardener ,thanks for the invite ,its real conservation in action .
Mylo ,Ireland does some stonking things with salmon ,Currane being a great example ,but the nets are an anacronism .
sorry all its nearing my bedtime .
Malcom , see you very soon ,got some days on the braes .:smokin:

Gary W
03-04-2004, 06:08 AM
Wouldn't it be a good idea to eliminate all net fisheries and offer the net fisherman training and jobs in the angling tourism business(i.e. ghillies, bailiffs, etc.)?

I know, I know, a sweeping idealistic approach; it would be nice.

While we are doing this, we could also force salmon farmers into farming cod. They would get as good, if not a better price than they do for their salmon, and the wild cod stocks could be allowed to recover. Idealistic?

Andy Wren
03-04-2004, 10:15 AM
The salmon farmers going over to cod might well just change the species that polluting ,there will still be masses of fecal matter below the cages ,still huge amounts of fish food going to feed them ,maybe lice as well I dont know on that a fishery biologist would have to say .

Gary W
03-04-2004, 12:14 PM

I am no expert, but I have heard that sea lice do not attach themselves to cod. If that was the case, at least our migratory fish, and returning smolts, would be free to run the gauntlet of the cages without the threat of being overly infested with sea lice.

Maybe somebody can enlighten me as to whether sea lice attach themselves to species such as cod(?).

As we all know, it is high time that the salmon farmers were forced to increase there overheads by farming in more open waters(non migratory routes), where the pollutants from their industry would have a less direct effect than they do in smaller sea lochs.

I wish I knew more about this subject and will be watching closely for similar threads.:confused:

03-04-2004, 01:06 PM
Interesting that you mention open-water farming of salmon, Gary. There is a company called Glenarm that have been doing this for some time off the coast of Co Antrim - I think a Google search will find it for you. As well as producing a superior product (I've seen them on fishmongers' slabs; they look much better than the usual farmed fish), I believe they do avoid some of the problems of conventional aquaculture. The fish are stocked at lower densities, which reputedly lessens the buildup of lice and waste under the cages, assisted also by the open-sea currents in which the cages are sited (which also help to build firmer flesh). They are a premium product among farmed salmon.

But they are still far from perfect. Although the faecal waste isn't concentrated in one place, it is still produced. To claim that the sea is big enough and it will be sufficiently diluted not to matter is an outdated attitude - we can no longer continue to regard the sea as a convenient dustbin for untreated sewage, whether from humans, animals or farmed fish. There are also problems with escapes - Google will lead you to stuff about such incidents from the Glenarm farm and the impact on the genetic integrity of stock in local rivers. Remember that escapes from farms could transmit diseases and parasites (eg ISA and Gyrodactylus) to river systems, too, with catastrophic results. And the point Andy makes about the oceans being pillaged to produce fish food for farmed salmon remains, as it does for all aquaculture.

There is no doubt in my mind that on-shore fish farming is the best way. Pollution, disease and escapes can all be controlled far more easily that way, though the food issue remains unresolved.

It's been linked before, but if you want to read more, look at www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

Gary W
03-04-2004, 02:37 PM

I believe that salmon farming companies shy away from farming in landlocked areas for two reasons. Inland farming is generally more visible and immediate to the general public, thus increasing the level of opposition to more than just groups with an interest in wild salmon.

I also believe that the water quality would quickly become contaminated to a level that could not sustain the lives of salmon.

While I am an avid salmon angler, I am relatively new to the politics involved(wish there was not a necessity to get into politics for the love of our sport), so these are merely my opinions.
Sadly, we find ourselves talking more about solutions to these problems than about fishing itself.

There is also a company in Scotland that cultivates organic salmon(?) :confused: . Comendable, but until legislation is brought in to get all salmon farmers to give wider and closer consideration to the environment, it seems a very small step in the right direction.

Also, the fish may be fewer in volume in the cages, but to acheive a profit and grow the fish in a timescale that sustains the business, do these organic farms still feed the fish with a high protien diet(i.e. condensed fish food made from tonnes of natural resource that should be available as prey for wild salmon)?

Please correct me if I am wrong; I am on a learning curve at the moment.

03-05-2004, 04:44 AM
Gary, I'm no expert, so don't take this as gospel. I believe, though, that organic aquaculture really isn't a lot better from the environmental aspect. They don't use the same artificial dyes in the feed to produce the vividly coloured flesh, and I think don't use medicine (eg antibiotics) routinely as a prophylactic, but only to treat outbreaks of disease. Don't know about stocking densities - they may well be lower than conventional farms, but will still be vastly higher than would ever occur in nature, so pollution will still occur. Nor do I know how they control lice - I remember reading something once about using another fish (a wrasse, possibly?) in the cages that was supposed to feed on the lice, like birds eating ticks on cattle, but don't know whether that ever came to anything. I certainly think the pellets on which the fish are fed are likely to come from just the same sources as conventional fish food - ie industrial hoovering-up of sandeels etc which form such a crucial part of the food chain, not only for fish but also seabirds. If you want to know more about the impact of organic farms, I think you can contact Bruce Sandison through that site I linked above; he will know much more than me. If there isn't a link, I have his email somewhere.

A land-based farm is theoretically possible, but it would have to pass its water through a purification system. This is likely to be very expensive indeed - see the figures suggested by OC towards the bottom of page 1 of this thread from a little time ago: http://www.flyfishingforum.com/flytalk3/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8822

A planning application has just been submitted for a land-based farm in Wales which proposes to pass its waste water through beds of sand stocked with lugworm, which are supposed to filter out the pollutants. The worms will then be harvested to sell to fishermen to use as bait. Interesting theory, but I wonder if it will really work. Here's a couple of links to the story http://icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/regionalnews/page.cfm?objectid=13845557&method=full&siteid=50142 and http://www.llanfairfechan.org.uk/~abergwyngregyn/InTheNews/ItsFishy/itsfishy.htm

You may well be right about the visibility of farms, although if you go to the west coast of Scotland or Ireland you can hardly miss the cages, since they tend to be sited close to shore. There might also be issues with smell, for example, and it would be less easy to dispose of dead fish; at present it appears that they are often just dumped into the sea, which is of course in itself a source of pollution.

You're right about the politics aspect of fishing - if only it wasn't necessary!

Gary W
03-08-2004, 03:26 AM

Thanks for the information.

I think the fact that there is so much opposition to the land based farm in Wales, illustrates the point that the general public would be more opposed to this than a sea cage farm. I suspect that the opposition would not be so strong if the farm was in sea nets/cages in a similar area.

That was a great thread that you pointed me to. It's a dreadful situation that yet another government is ignorant enough to ignore the environmental consequences of salmon farming in order to claim the glory for economical growth in rural areas. The truth behind the economic growth is that the financial rewards largely go to foreign companies that seem to be working their way round the globe destroying their neighbours marine environments.