To track Atlantic salmon movements from river to sea and back, millions of salmon have been tagged over the past fifty years as part of scientific international tagging programmes.

Recently ICES published a Cooperative Research Report documenting fifty years of marine tag recoveries from Atlantic salmon.

Programmes have included tagging of smolts, migrating out from their freshwater nurseries to the sea and their recaptures in high-seas fisheries off Norway and the Faroes, in coastal fisheries around Greenland and upon return to home waters. Other studies included tagging of adults caught at sea and their subsequent recaptures in home waters in coastal fisheries and by anglers.

“Tagging and related data efforts are crucial as scientists seek to improve understanding of wild Atlantic salmon distribution and migration at sea and the underlying causes of mortality. This is particularly important given that, despite initiatives that have mitigated some declines, abundance of the species has continued to drop in the last two decades,” explained Niall O’Maoileidigh, Marine Institute.