Inland Fisheries Ireland has designated the River Erriff, a premier salmon and sea trout fishery, as the National Salmonid Index Catchment. Fish migrating upstream must pass through counting and trapping facilities located at Aasleagh Falls where the Errif flows into Killary Harbour.

Since 1985, salmon and sea trout smolts and kelts migrating downstream pass through a trap located below Tawnyard Lough. Facilities at the station are used for scientific research and monitoring on salmonoid populations and their migratory behaviour.

In the mid 1970s, an estimated 1.7 million salmon returned to Ireland compared to roughly 250,000 today. Salmon are a key indicator species and marker for the health and aquatic environment.

Declining numbers

Visiting the research station,  Sean Canney, minister with responsibility for the inland fisheries resource said that while salmon were present in more than 140 rivers in Ireland, the numbers of salmon returning to Irish rivers and river internationally, were declining.

International Year of the Salmon (2019) offers an opportunity to start an important conversation around how we can protect, conserve and restore salmon populations in Irish and international waters and how we can inspire action.”

International Year of the Salmon Programme in Ireland