Marine Institute

Conserving salmon habitats - Leading expert outlines the challenges at RDS lecture

November 10, 2005

The challenges and opportunities faced by fisheries managers in conserving habitats for wild salmon will be addressed by leading expert Prof. John Armstrong of Scotland's Fisheries Research Services Freshwater Laboratory, Pitlochry in the Minerva Suite of the Royal Dublin Society at Ballsbridge, Dublin next Tuesday, 15th November, starting at 6.30 pm. The event is being organised by the RDS as part of its prestigious "Buckland Lecture Series" in collaboration with the Marine Institute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their Newport research laboratory, which specialises in salmonid studies.

John Armstrong's research has focused on the behaviour and ecology of Atlantic salmon and brown trout as a basis for developing sound management models including the impacts of predators, hydroelectric installations and habitat modifications on salmon populations. An illustrated summary of this work, concentrating particularly on experimental studies over a range of situations from onshore tanks, to trapped and opens river systems, will form the basis of his lecture. The results of his work are highly relevant to Irish fisheries and will provide valuable insights into how problems of declining stocks might be tackled in Ireland.

"Many anglers and netsmen have first hand experience of substantial declines in salmon stocks during their own fishing lifetimes", says Prof. Armstrong. "The mood is no longer complacent expectation of a bountiful harvest, but one of concern. In the last century, the virtual extinction of salmon has been seen in some parts of its natural range and we are in no doubt about the need to act fast and in concert to protect other stocks. On a brighter note, with the cleaning up of some rivers in recent decades we have seen how stocks can recover and prosper given effective management."

The Buckland Lectures are named after Frank Buckland, one of the best-known Victorian writers on natural history subjects. Although strongly opposed to Darwin's theory of evolution, he was a forward-looking pioneer of modern fishery research.  He became a most influential Inspector of Salmon Fisheries in England and also undertook a number of groundbreaking enquiries into the state of English marine fisheries.  On his death he bequeathed a sum of money in trust to fund the annual appointment of a Professor of Fish Culture who should deliver three public lectures and provide the text for publication.  This year (2005) that honour falls to John Armstrong.

For further details please contact: Dr. Ciaran Byrne at 01 – 2407217 or at ciaran.byrne @ rds.ie.

ENDS