A few months ago, Deirdre Brennan, a fellow member of the Explorers Club, approached me about a film, “Lost At Sea,” she is making with Eamon de Buitlear about Atlantic Salmon and where they go in the ocean once they leave the rivers. The ratio of fish leaving the rivers to those returning has declined dramatically in recent years indicating a high mortality of the salmon at sea. In an effort to learn more about these post-smolt fish, the SALSEA project was created to learn about the oceanic migration of the salmon. Deirdre asked me to come along on one of the SALSEA expeditions to film and assist in the early stages of the film. Being the avid fisherman that I am and of course, my desire to know all there is to know about every fish in the sea, led me to participate on this SALSEA expedition aboard the RV Celtic Explorer into the Norwegian Sea to collect and sample post-smolt Atlantic Salmon on their way to their feeding grounds to the North.
I am very excited to be on this voyage and a part of this project as it is one of the first of its kind to do a comprehensive study of salmon at sea. We will be fishing for the salmon with surface trawls (large nets dragged right at the surface) because the post-smolt salmon, fish just leaving the rivers, are found in only the surface waters no deeper than 3m. Because the scientists are using genetic markers to identify the fish, every fish captured becomes useful as opposed to only tagged fish in the past. There are 1360 known salmon rivers in Europe and many of the highly productive rivers have been “genetically mapped” so that the fish caught in the ocean can be identified to their natal river.
We are heading north to an area west of the Voering Plateau where the salmon funnel into the Barents and Greenland Seas. This “salmon pass” is our target area in our quest to document the salmon migration. In its second year, the SALSEA project will attempt to answer questions of where the salmon go when they leave the rivers and why they are not returning.
Gaelin Rosenwaks & Deirdre Brennan are carrying Explorers Club Flag #81 on this expedition
HERE IS LINK TO OUR CRUISE TRACK FROM MY SPOT TRACKER: