Please watch out for Pink Salmon on Tweed
July is spawning time for these fish, and several have been caught on the Tweed in recent years
These Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) have not come all the way from the Pacific! They were introduced to some Russian rivers around the White Sea in the 1960s and have since spread westwards and have now colonised some northern Norwegian rivers. There is also an introduced population in Newfoundland from which some rivers in Nova Scotia and Quebec have been colonised, but the most likely source of the fish that turn up in the Tweed will be northern Norway.
Breeding males are immediately identifiable because of their humps and they will almost certainly be running milt at this time of year. Their black tongues and heavily spotted tails are also very obvious. Females will show heavily spotted tails and be pinkish-brown on the flanks.
So far, no fresh Pink Salmon have turned up – they are steel blue to blue-green on their backs, silver on the flanks and white on their bellies. There are large black spots on the backs, upper flanks, adipose fins and tail – some of the spots on the tail can be as large as the fish’s eyes. They are very uniform in size, reaching only 40 to 60cms in length.
There is the possibility of breeding occurring in the Tweed, which would be highly undesirable. The species does not seem to have any great difficulty in spreading its range as shown by the way it has colonised rivers in northern Norway and eastern Canada from the original, man-made, introductions made to those areas. Their spawning zones are in the lower part of main channels, even in tidal reaches or, occasionally, in tributaries well upstream.
If you see what looks like Pink Salmon – and especially any spawning activity by them in Tweed during July and August – please inform the River Tweed Commission (RTC) immediately.
RTC Contact: E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01896 848294
Any angler who catches one should please keep it, and report it to the RTC