World's Longest Running Total Salmon Trapping Facility Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Marine Institute, Newport is celebrating 50 years of research and innovation, since it was first established as the Salmon Research Trust of Ireland in 1955. Marine Minister Pat the Cope Gallagher, TD., was in Newport, Co. Mayo today, to announce a series of activities to mark the Golden Jubilee of Ireland's unique research facilities, in the Burrishoole Catchment.

Since the formation of the Salmon Research Trust some 50 years ago, extensive research has been undertaken and progressed in a wide range of aspects of the Burrishoole system: stock dynamics of salmon, sea trout and eels; salmonid genetics; environmental and hydrological studies; climate change studies, catchment management studies as well as extensive research into the rearing of salmonids for stock enhancement, ranching and fish farming. The facilities have been upgraded and developed, since joining the Marine Institute in 1999, to cope with the growing demands from the scientific community and from industry.

The Burrishoole facility acts as a major index system for both salmon and eel stocks in the North Atlantic and its data are widely used by international bodies such as ICES ( the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) in Copenhagen and NASCO, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization based in Edinburgh. The facility has hosted a series of high profile EU funded national and international collaborative projects covering a wide range of topics from salmon genetics to the importance of trace environmental pollutants. The results of this research have been reported in a series of 50 detailed Annual Reports and in over 200 scientific publications.

To mark this milestone year, a programme of public events is planned:

Sept - November: The Golden Jubilee Lecture Series - bringing the work of the Institute to the people of Mayo and encouraging open public debate on key aspects of Ireland's valuable aquatic resources

29th September:  Energy from Nature, Ridge Pool Hotel, Ballina, 9.30 - 22.15  

13th October:  Marine Birds & Mammals, Traveller's Friend, Castlebar 19.45 - 22.15

3rd November:  Fish, Ships & Cages, Wyatt Hotel, Westport 19.45 - 22.15

17th November:  Burrishoole - Past Present & Future  19.30 - 22.15 Newport Hotel, Newport.

Sept - October: Schools (Mayo) Awareness Programme to highlight the importance of the work the Institute and the work at Newport. Competitions for both primary and secondary school pupils are planned

The Salmon Research Trust of Ireland was the brain-child of Dr Arthur Went, scientific adviser to the Minister for Fisheries. Originally a Guinness Trust, the SRTI found an avid supporter in Sir Hugh Beaver, the MD of Arthur Guinness who along with Major Charles Roberts, the original owner of the Burrishoole system, ensured that the work of the fledgling Trust was well supported. In 1980 the Roberts family gifted the fishery, the fishing rights, property and other tangible assets to the Trust. Throughout the 1980's Guinness gradually phased out its involvement and the facilities were donated to the state.

On the 1st January 1990 the Salmon Research Agency took charge of the facilities on behalf of the Minister for the Marine. In July 1999, the Salmon Research Agency was transferred to the Marine Institute. More information on the programme of activities will be available on over the coming months.