The collapse of Irish sea trout stocks, especially in west coast rivers and lakes, has continued over decades despite campaign after campaign to try reverse the trend.
The impact of salmon farming has been blamed at least partially for that fall, and the fall in wild salmon stocks too. The aquaculture sector rejects that accusation as vehemently as others believe it, a belief supported by science and circumstantial evidence — evidence that is driving legislative change around limiting salmon farming to onshore production in a growing number of countries.
New research from UCC’s Environmental Research Institute has identified two other threats to sea trout populations — rising temperatures and dwindling food stocks. Each of these changes are consequences of man’s actions and relentless exploitation of the bottom-of-the-pyramid sea life sea trout and other migratory fish rely on. But it seems a vicious circle has been put in motion as researchers warn that climate warming means a further fall in the numbers of trout going to sea to feed and grow.