Reared smolts derived from Burrishoole grilse have been released into the system since 1956 but it was not until 1964 that sufficient adults were available to establish a breeding population. Since that time adult returns from reared smolts have been used to establish the line-bred Burrishoole ranched stock. This stock provides exceptionally high return rates to the coast, relative to other Irish ranched stocks, and this trait is also apparent in smolts stocked at locations remote from Burrishoole.
The Burrishoole trapping facilities and rod fishery, used in conjunction with a smolt microtagging and adult tag retrieval programme carried out by the Marine Institute, have made it possible to collect detailed information on a broad range of population characteristics associated with the Burrishoole stock: adult survival rates to the coast, exploitation rates by commercial and recreational fisheries and spawning escapement.
These data are used extensively by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) to gauge the overall status of the Irish stocks on an annual basis and as a result the Burrishoole system is utilised as one of the key index systems for salmon in the north Atlantic.