Tracking Mayo Salmon in the Atlantic Ocean spans 600 km
THE ability to track juvenile salmon in the wild has been extended hundreds of kilometers across the Atlantic using advanced robotic technology.
Among the young fish detected nearly 600 kilometers from “home” was a smolt from the Burrishoole watershed in western Mayo.
As part of the EU-funded INTERREG VA SeaMonitor project, Dr Ross O’Neill, Marine Institute, and Kieran Adlum, P&O Maritime, tested a remote-controlled ocean glider equipped with an acoustic beacon detector along the area steeply sloping plateau. about 130 km northwest of the Scottish Hebrides.
The glider was deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer on April 16 during the Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Survey 2021. During its two-month mission, it successfully detected four juvenile smolts measuring only 15 to 19 cm, at close to 600 km from their native rivers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
These fish had been tagged between four and six weeks previously with electronic acoustic transmission tags 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 objectives of these projects is to study the persistent low marine survival of Atlantic salmon in the early stages of their oceanic migration to North Atlantic feeding grounds.
The four fish were from Burrishoole in County Mayo, the River Bann in Northern Ireland, and the Clyde and Awe rivers in Scotland.
Until now, most monitoring studies have been limited to estuarine or coastal areas due to technological limitations and the need for fixed receivers.
Dr Niall Ó Maoiléidigh of the Marine Institute and Principal Investigator of the SeaMonitor Project said: “The detection of these fish confirms the importance of the shelf edge in this amazing journey, as the faster currents associated with the steep slopes most likely act as a aquatic transport system facilitating the northward migration of these tiny fish in a very hostile environment.
Professor Colin Adams, University of Glasgow, and principal investigator of the SeaMonitor project added: “This study shows that tracking salmon over considerable distances at sea can be achieved, which is crucial for research on highly migratory marine species. , especially where mortality can occur far away. from the shore.
Sharon McMahon, CEO of Loughs Agency, said this innovative research will help identify migration routes and factors influencing salmon survival at sea, providing data to inform future research and decision making.
The glider is part of the large integrated intergovernmental SeaMonitor network of acoustic receivers, robotic underwater vehicles, satellite tracking and passive acoustic receivers in European waters and its use will be extended to track cetaceans, basking sharks and rays as well as to collect physical data. oceanographic data. When combined, the data will enable a holistic view of the region’s mobile marine species and prove invaluable to managers in the regions, as well as establishing an integrated network of marine receptors for future applications and extended monitoring.
For more information on the project, visit: https://www.loughs-agency.org/managing-our-loughs/funded-programmes/current-programmes/sea-monitor/ or follow the project on Twitter @ SeaMonitor1.