Scale force: citizen scientists reel in data on salmon and sea trout

The Irish Times –

The Minister of State with responsibility for inland fisheries, Seán Canney, is seeking assistance from anglers to become citizen scientists for the National Salmon Scale Project. The initiative aims to collect information through scales from salmon and sea trout which will contribute to the conservation of wild salmon stocks.

“As we celebrate international year of the salmon, this project will help researchers understand the challenges which salmon are facing today,” said Mr Canney, who is Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Scales – even just one scale – can reveal a huge amount of information including age, how many winters spent at sea, how many times spawned, growth rate, feeding pattern and how long spent in the river before going to sea.

Anglers are asked to take a scale sample by gently scraping and removing approximately 20 scales using a clean knife and posting samples to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in envelopes provided (see below).

Scales can be removed from harvested and catch-and-release fish; however, sampling of fish for release should be handled carefully, with fish only briefly removed from the water and every effort made to avoid injury or stress.

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