Survey finds fish are flourishing

Survey subject: An adult male salmon

Survey subject: An adult male salmon

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WILD salmon and trout populations in the island’s rivers are doing well, according to the results of surveys carried out by the inland fisheries section of the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture.

The 2012 freshwater fisheries report covers ten rivers, and compares the health of brown trout and juvenile salmon populations with information from surveys of 900 sites in England and Wales.

Manx sites contained at least average densities of trout with some sites scoring above average, like areas of the rivers Glass, Dhoo, Laxey and Neb which also contained juvenile salmon.

Since monitoring began in 2003, populations appear to have remained stable, and in areas like a site near the Ballakerka plantation on the upper Sulby River, recent increases in young salmon indicate improved water quality.

The monitoring programme helps assess the potential impacts of pollution, climate change and management initiatives, and the most productive use of DEFA’s salmon hatchery at Laxey, where fish are reared and released to boost the salmon run in rivers, and encourage salmon to re-colonise the Santon Burn above Santon weir fish pass, where there has been success with increasing trout numbers since the pass’s installation in 2009.

This stocking technique is also being used to boost the Sulby River’s salmon run with preliminary surveys showing promising results.

DEFA minister Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘This report illustrates the value of our rivers and streams for biodiversity. I’d like to thank those landowners, farmers, anglers, contractors and other individuals whose cooperation and assistance help fisheries staff to protect and conserve these important natural resources.’

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