Northumberland anglers urged to report pink salmon catches
Until recently, catching a Pacific pink salmon was as rare as netting a red herring.
However, four were seen in the North East of England in 2017 including the River Wear, River Tyne and the River Coquet.
In Scotland, pink salmon were found to have spawned successfully producing viable eggs that hatched into fry (juvenile fish).
Owing to the two year life cycle of this species, 2019 will be the first year these fish might be expected to return in numbers.
So far this year, there have been seven confirmed incidences of pink salmon across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including two in a T net set to catch sea trout off the Northumbrian coast.
The Environment Agency has now appealed for anglers or commercial netsmen to get in touch if they do catch one.
Jonathan Shelley, net fishery programme manager at the Environment Agency, said: “From examining the specimens that were captured and recovered two years ago by the Environment Agency, no notable disease or novel parasites were detected.
"However, we need to remain watchful and continue to investigate the possible risk of undesirable consequences arising from the presence of this species.
“It is anticipated more pink salmon will be observed over the coming weeks and fisheries managers, anglers and netsmen are requested to remain vigilant,
particularly if fishing in the lower reaches of the river systems."
Simon Toms, national fisheries management team leader for the Environment Agency, said: “Wild Atlantic salmon stocks are already under great pressure from a variety of sources.
"The introduction of novel parasites or diseases from invasive species, such as Pacific pink salmon, could potentially represent an additional risk to
the viability of the species.
“We therefore want to better understand the immediate risk that pink salmon could represent to our important wild salmon stocks. We are urging anglers to report the capture of all pink salmon to us as soon as possible after capture. These fish could turn up in any river in England but are most likely to be found in rivers in the North East and North West of England.”
Sightings can be reported to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.