Atlantic Salmon Return to Tolka After 100 Year Hiatus

The ‘King of Fish, the Wild Atlantic Salmon, has returned to the River Tolka.  A recent review of fish stocks in the north Dublin section of the river by Inland Fisheries Ireland has found numbers of juvenile wild Atlantic salmon in the river in three locations in the Glasnevin and Finglas areas.  This is proof positive that the migratory fish has returned to the river and is now breeding.

This is the first record of wild salmon reproducing in the Tolka for at least 100 years and the reestablishment of a wild salmon population in the Tolka can be credited to the coordinated efforts of a number of State Agencies. Earlier this century the Office of Public Works, working closely with three County Councils (Dublin, Meath and Fingal) carried out a flood relief scheme in the Tolka.  These works involved either the removal or modification of a significant number of man-made weirs to “open up” the Tolka river system to migratory fish .  On completion of this scheme adult sea trout immediately ran the system all the way upstream to its headwaters in Dunboyne for the first time in at least 150 years.

The salmon is more particular about where it breeds, so there is no doubt that the presence of juvenile salmon, a species that only survives in clean water, also reflects the hard work of the County Councils in reducing pollution levels in this largely urbanized river.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said today (September 27th 2011) ‘Up to the year 2000 Dublin and Reykjavik were the only two capital cities in Europe which had a wild Atlantic salmon stock in a river within city boundaries. Now Dublin can boast about having three salmon rivers within its boundaries – the Liffey, Dodder and now the Tolka! In environmental terms this is an important step forward’.

In a further development, Dublin City Council is in the process of implementing a fisheries enhancement plan in the Carrdiffsbridge Park area. Once complete, there will be a linear park along the Tolka River at the Pelletstown area which will include the improvement of fish habitat and the eradication of Giant Hogweed.