Fishing for fun - Kids will be hooked by salmon event

Rory Cahill, 4, and Evelyn Cahill, 6, from Dunboyne, Co.Meath, at the launch of the Fishy Fun event at the Museum of Ireland and Natural History. Pic: Julien Behal Photography

Kids will be hooked by salmon event, says Helen O’Callaghan

THE salmon is facing its biggest challenge yet, and the National Museum of Ireland — Natural History is partnering with Inland Fisheries Ireland to get families talking about how to protect it.

Fishy Fun is a free, one-day event on Saturday, July 20, with a range of interactive activities suitable for all the family.

“Children are great influencers in families,” says Suzanne Campion, Inland Fisheries Ireland head of business development. “When you bring an idea to a child’s mind, a lot can happen. We’re seeing it in the current green movement, where it’s predominantly teens influencing governments.”

Fishy Fun will see fisheries staff helping young enthusiasts examine, via microscopes, the creepy crawlies that live in our rivers and lakes. “Insects and creepy crawlies are food for fish. We explain to children, if you see particular types it means the water’s really clean and the fish like to live there — whereas worm/slug types would be indicators of not so clean water,” says Campion.

The salmon’s life cycle will be explained, from when eggs are laid in smaller tributaries at the top of streams/rivers to when salmon get the urge to go to sea, heading all the way to Greenland where they become mature and then their return to their place of birth to spawn. Visitors will hear about the challenges salmon face on this arduous journey, such as from trawlers and polluted rivers.

“Out of 100 salmon that go to sea, we reckon only three to five come back. It’s quite hazardous for them. Salmon are facing their biggest challenge yet. Numbers are dropping all over Europe and Ireland,” says Campion, adding that the aim is to grow the number of anglers. “Anglers are the eyes and ears of the river. They can see where there’s pollution or where fish numbers aren’t the same [as they once were].”

At Fishy Fun, novice anglers can try their hand at fishing through a simulator. “Children of all ages love it. You can see the ‘fish’ coming up towards the bait and taking it, you feel it on the fishing rod and you have to reel it in,” says Campion. Also on display will be the National Museum’s collection of specimen fish, as well as aquariums containing examples of freshwater fish that live in waters across Ireland.

Fishy Fun at National Museum of Ireland — Natural History (10am-4pm, July 20) is just one of a range of initiatives taking place across Ireland for International Year of the Salmon

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