Pink salmon 2023

Between the late 1950s and mid 1980s, pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) were introduced to the White Sea, from their native north Pacific rim, by Russian fisheries scientists. The new population expanded slowly at first, but eventually established a thriving odd-year’ breeding cycle.

In 2017 – 2019, this population started expanding very rapidly in the north Atlantic, and pink salmon are now appearing in alternating years in UK rivers. 2023 is the latest of these years: a few days ago on 29 June, the Atlantic Salmon Trusts Chris Conroy captured some excellent footage from the River Laxford, which you can view HERE.

In Chris’s eight-second clip, the pink salmon can be seen in its ocean phase colouration, when it’s still easiest to confuse with an Atlantic salmon. The pink is the big fish that comes closest to the camera, swimming with several Atlantic salmon and a shoal of sea trout. In terms of GISS, the giveaway’ is the very obvious spotting on the pink salmon’s tail, but there are other clues too.

Click HERE for more info (including the EA’s identification guide to pink salmon, and what to do if you see or catch one) and HERE for AST’s latest research and management strategies for pink salmon and the novel red skin disease’.

Pink salmon Chris Conroy crop