The opening of the river Drowes in Leitrim coincides with the beginning of the New Year and as a result the first salmon of the year has been caught there on many occasions.
However, this year marks an exceptionally special one, as it is the International Year of the Salmon.
The occasion will be celebrated at the Drowes river in a number of fitting manners.
Awards and Prizes
Firstly, all anglers that are present to start their fishing season at the river will be presented with a stainless steel commemorative pin.
Secondly, the angler who catches and releases the first salmon of the year from the river Drowes will be presented with the newly commissioned Conservation Cup.
The angler will also be presented with a one kilogramme bar of silver worth €750.
Shane Gallagher of the Drowes Salmon fishery said: “2019 is the International Year of the Salmon.
“To highlight the value of salmon angling to the Irish economy and the importance of conserving this precious resource, the fishery is offering a one kilo bar of silver to the angler who catches and releases the first salmon from the river Drowes in the International Year of the Salmon, 2019.”
Those at the Drowes Salmon Fishery understand that catching and releasing the first salmon of the season, or any salmon of the season, is not by itself going to address the decline in salmon numbers.
However, it can be used to create awareness among the non angling public of how precious a resource the salmon is and how much it contributes to the Irish economy as a whole.
In 2015, Millward Brown was commissioned to compile a report by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) as to the contribution that salmon angling makes to the Irish economy.
The findings were that salmon and sea trout angling contributed over €210 million to the overall economy in Ireland.
25,017 salmon were landed in Ireland in 2015.
The average weight of the salmon landed by anglers was 2.7kg.
Mr Gallagher said: “Clearly our salmon is precious.
“They are in fact more precious and valuable than the bars of silver that they are, so often, compared to.”
He added that as anglers, as people with an interest in and love for salmon, that in 2019, the
Ensure future abundance
International Year of the Salmon to be mindful of how precious salmon are and to make an extra special effort to ensure its survival and return to abundance in the future.”
The International Year of the Salmon will be marked on a number of different rivers throughout the county and country.
The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) is a project launched by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and other partners.
The IYS focal year will be 2019, with projects and activities starting in 2018 and continuing for another three years and into 2022.