Study Tour

Study Tour – Friday 8th September 2017.

Departs 08:00 and will return to Belfast at approx 18:00. Please click here to view the agenda.

The EAFP 2017 Study tour will include a visit to the River Bush Salmon Station at Bushmills.  

The Salmon Station, undertakes long-term research into the ecology and population dynamics of Atlantic salmon. The scientific facilities at the station enable the trapping and counting of wild salmon smolts (juveniles) migrating to sea and adults returning from the ocean to freshwater to spawn.  

Scientists based at the River Bush salmon station have been using a range of scientific techniques, such as acoustic telemetry and genetic stock identification, to investigate critical aspects of salmon biology including the efficacy of fry stocking for fishery enhancement, the survival of smolts in freshwater and the pre-spawning behavior of adult salmon. Some recent peer reviewed publications arising from work conducted at the salmon station and covering a range of topics, is listed below:

The Impact of Climate Change in Freshwater?

– Kennedy, R.J., Crozier, W.W. (2010). Evidence of changing migratory patterns of wild salmon Salmo salar smolts in the River Bush, Northern Ireland, and possible associations with climate change. Journal of Fish Biology, 76(7):1786-1805

Salmon Stocking is it Positive or Negative?

Kennedy, R.J., Crozier, W.W., Allen, M.M (2012). The effect of stocking 0+ year age class Atlantic salmon fry: a case study from the River Bush, Northern Ireland. Journal of Fish Biology, 81(5):1730-1746.

Salmon Migration at River Obstacles

Kennedy, R.J., Moffet, I.., Allen, M.M. & Dawson, S. (2013).Upstream migratory behaviour of wild and ranched Atlantic salmon Salmo salar at a natural obstacle in a coastal spate river. Journal of Fish Biology 83, 515–530.

Efficacy of Salmon Habitat Enhancement

Kennedy, R. J., Johnston, P. & Allen, M. (2014). Assessment of a catchment wide salmon habitat rehabilitation scheme on a drained river system in Northern Ireland. Fisheries Management and Ecology 21, 275–287.

Salmonid Recovery Following Fish Kills

Kennedy, R.J., Rosell, R.S., Hayes, J. (2012). Recovery patterns of salmonid populations following a fish kill event on the River Blackwater, Northern Ireland. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 19(3):214-223.

Trout Research

Kennedy, R.J., Crozier, W.W., Rosell, R., Allen, M.M. & Prodöhl, P. (2017). Trout recruitment, production and ova seeding requirements on a small coastal river: A case study from the Shimna River, Northern Ireland. In: Sea Trout: Science & Management. (Graeme Harris. Ed.). Proceeding of the 2nd International Sea Trout Symposium, October 2015. Dundalk, Ireland.

Further information on the ongoing monitoring work conducted at the River Bush Salmon Station can be viewed here

Following the visit to the Salmon Station, the tour will include a visit to the historic Old Bushmills Distillery.  Settled on the banks of the River Bush you’ll find the oldest working distillery in Ireland. A place where family and friends have worked for generations, in a small Northern Irish village that for over 400 years has kept to the philosophy that hand crafting small batches is the way to produce beautifully smooth tasting Irish whiskey.

The Old Bushmills Distillery is the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery having received its licence to distil in 1608. In 1608 Sir Thomas Phillips was granted a licence to distil whiskey by James 1 of England, however, mentions of distilling traditions in the surrounding environs date back to 1276.

Following lunch, the tour will conclude with a visit to The Giant’s Causeway. 

The Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland and in 2015 was awarded the UKs Best Heritage Attraction at the British Travel Awards. 

Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries. It harbours a wealth of local and natural history.

Sea birds can be seen off the coast around the Causeway, with species such as fulmar, petrel and razorbill being frequently observed alongside rare and unusual plant species on the cliffs and nearby rock formations.

The Giant’s Causeway is also steeped in myth and legend. Some say it was carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool who left behind an ancient home full of folklore. Look out for clues of his existence – including The Giant’s Boot and Wishing Chair.  Visit the website here for further information.