Friday, October 27th, 2023: Inland Fisheries Ireland has participated in a tagging project for salmon that tracks their epic sea swim from Greenland to Europe.

Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) researcher Glen Wightman represented the agency in an EU-funded programme in the east Greenland settlement of Kuummiut – tagging salmon as they returned to their European rivers of origin.

He collaborated with scientists from the Technical University of Denmark(DTU) to investigate the feeding and return migratory behaviour of young Atlantic salmon as they left the Arctic sea.

Senior Research Officer at IFI Dr. William Roche commented: “This study comprises novel research into a fish species that’s in worrying decline. It’s being conducted because the marine phase of a salmon’s life is where knowledge of its survival is limited. 

“We are making use of the strong homing trait of salmon. The aim is to fill a data gap because detailed information about salmon behaviour and migration routes in the ocean is scarce. 

“It is hoped that the scientific information gleaned will provide further clues into the complex question of poor survival of salmon at sea.  

“We are seeking more data on the return journeys these salmon undertake, and the numbers that actually make it back to the rivers where they are from.”

Sample salmon were implanted with a tracking device during this pilot phase of the study and monitored rivers in Europe will be checked for returns of these particular fish.

The new programme is focused on capturing live pre-adult salmon in their feeding areas on the east coast of Greenland.

Led by DTU’s Professor Kim Aarestrup, Dr Niels Jepsen, and IFI’s Glen Wightman, it is being carried out under the Smoltrack project, coordinated by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation.


For media queries contact: Sadhbh O’Neill, Communications Officer, Inland Fisheries Ireland/ [email protected] / 087 101 9998

About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) is the State’s environmental agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and managing Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources. Its core mission is to protect freshwater fish and their habitats. It was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010, and operates under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.  There are more than 300 people working at IFI in locations nationwide, and it manages a budget of approximately €32m annually. The agency has statutory responsibility for Ireland’s 74,000 km of rivers and streams, together with 128,000 lake hectares. It also has a coastline patrol jurisdiction of 12 nautical miles.