03/08/2021: Press Release Issued by Marine Institute
The ability to track free swimming salmon juveniles has been extended hundreds of kilometres into the open ocean using advanced robotic technology. As part of the EU INTERREG VA-funded SeaMonitor project, Dr Ross O’Neill, Marine Institute and Kieran Adlum, P&O Maritime, tested a remotely operated “ocean glider”, equipped with an acoustic tag detector along the steeply sloping area of the shelf edge approximately 130km north-west of the Scottish Hebrides.
The ocean glider was deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer on 16th April during the 2021 Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey. During its two-month mission, the glider successfully detected four individual juvenile salmon smolts measuring only 15 to 19cm, nearly 600 km from their home rivers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
These fish had been tagged between four and six weeks previously with electronic acoustic transmitting tags along with hundreds of other juvenile salmon as part of the SeaMonitor project but also as part of the West Coast Tracking Project, a partnership between the Atlantic Salmon Trust, Fisheries Management Scotland and Marine Scotland, EU INTERREG VA-funded COMPASS project and Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI) research initiatives. One of the main aims of these projects is to investigate the persistent low marine survival of Atlantic salmon in the early stages of their oceanic migration to feeding grounds in the North Atlantic.
The four fish originated from the River Burrishoole in Co Mayo Ireland, the River Bann in Northern Ireland and the Rivers Clyde and Awe in Scotland.