Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA visited the River Bush Salmon Station in Bushmills, as part of the Northern Ireland Centenary celebrations.
The station marks the centenary milestone by inviting the public to come experience a peak behind the scenes.
The minister said: “I was delighted to visit the River Bush Salmon Station to see first-hand the excellent work being done by the knowledgeable and experienced staff at DAERA Inland Fisheries. The station provides for the conservation, protection, development and improvement of the salmon and inland fisheries of Northern Ireland.
“During the visit I got to see how the Atlantic salmon fight against all odds to spawn in the Bush River and continue their journey to the North Atlantic.”
Since the establishment of the River Bush Salmon Station in 1973, it has made a significant contribution to the establishment and continued development of an evidence base necessary for the management of Atlantic salmon, not only in Northern Ireland. and in the British Isles, but throughout the range of Atlantic salmon in the North Atlantic.
Scientists from DAERA and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) uncover the secret life of salmon through their research at this station and AFBI’s research on stock / recruitment relationships is at the forefront international efforts to define salmon spawning targets and test their applicability to salmon management throughout the Northeast Atlantic.
Recent salmon research at Bushmills has focused on important contemporary issues such as the impact of climate change on salmon stocks.
Additionally, scientists based at the station used exciting new scientific techniques, such as acoustic telemetry, to study critical aspects of salmon biology, including the survival of freshwater smolts and the pre-spawning behavior of salmon. adult.
The minister continued: “My department continues to contribute to the sustainable management of salmon and inland fisheries through its progressive and dynamic management approach. Over the past hundred years, Atlantic salmon populations have suffered many and varied impacts ranging from overexploitation, disease, impacts on water quality, habitat damage, predation, sea change. land use and other natural and man-made impacts. My ministry continues to develop and use best practices to ensure that impacts are mitigated or avoided to the extent possible and that research is focused on contemporary threats.
“The objective of my department for salmon management is to meet the requirements of the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 and associated secondary regulations, which include managing the farm in accordance with international obligations. Current issues include current declines in Atlantic salmon marine survival rates that have been attributed to climate change. Maximizing freshwater production through effective management actions, including fisheries controls, habitat management, fish passage, targeted research and working in partnership, continues to provide orientation to DAERA’s inland fisheries management actions.