Juvenile salmon from the Black River (a tributary of the River Erriff – the National Salmonid Index Catchment) can now be followed online to determine survival rates during their migration from Ireland to Denmark. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland has launched SMOLTRACK – the EU-funded NASCO counting, tagging and tracking system – involving partners in Northern Ireland (River Bush); England (River Tamar); Spain (River Ulla and River Tea) and Denmark (River Skjern). 

IFI online tool Salmon Smolt

The project will also provide new data that will inform future salmon management and conservation work. 

Traps are used to catch migrating salmon smolts for tagging with minature acoustic transmitters; their migration is then followed via listening stations situated at various locations.

Numbers counted in each system are uploaded each evening to allow stakeholders to follow and compare migration patterns in each country.  The information will also help scientists to understand survival rates in lower parts of rivers, estuaries and coastal areas, as well as providing data on run timing and migration behaviour. 

“We look forward to determining more about smolts…As we are working with partners in Northern  Ireland, England, Spain and Denmark, we can also learn from the data gathered in their regions,” remarked Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development, IFI.