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Loughs Agency Salmon Conference

Ken Whelan, Research Director of the Atlantic Salmon Trust, recently delivered a presentation about the unprecedented decline in Atlantic Salmon stocks at Loughs Agency’s Salmon Conference in Mellon Country Inn, County Tyrone.

The Loughs Agency, in partnership with the Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA), hosted ‘Our Foyle Salmon – The Upstream Battle’ where a panel of fisheries specialists came together to discuss the status of our iconic fish, share current research and identify threats that wild salmon face. Speakers also shared positive actions and advised how groups and individuals can help sustain and protect the species at a local level. We’re delighted to hear that Ken was joined by approximately 250 other enthusiastic participants from the Foyle catchment and beyond!

Ken’s presentation focused on Atlantic Salmon Decline and Possible Mitigation Approaches.

Over the past two decades, an increasing proportion of North Atlantic salmon are dying at sea during their ocean feeding migration. Recent discoveries have shown that increased mortality is strongly linked to the impacts of climate change on ocean teperatures and changes in food supply in the ocean.

In image (L-R): Ronan McShane, Ross McGill, Ken Whelan and Diego Del Villar

“Currently the most pressing need is to identify the key mortality factors causing such losses and to  target research which will provide us with an accurate estimate of the scale of mortality at each stage of the salmon’s life cycle”.

In his talk Ken emphasised that scientists, environmentalists, fisheries managers and anglers must now work together to conserve the remaining stocks and to solve the mystery of the missing salmon before it’s too late. Collectively, we must take action on a scale never seen before to identify what is happening and determine how to halt this decline.

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