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Arctic Charr

Salvelinus alpinus
Arctic Char being measured by Loughs Agency conservation team
roach
A member of the same family as Atlantic salmon and Trout, Arctic Charr are post glacial colonisers and a rare component of Irish fish fauna. Only found in their non-anadromous form in more southern latitudes and are resident in lakes.
Conservation Status

Listed as Lower Risk, least concern on the IUCN Red List. In the Irish Red Data Book they are listed as vulnerable. Arctic Charr have been an important part of our native fish fauna since the end of the last glaciation, circa 10,000 years ago when they first colonised Irish Rivers and lakes. Since this time Arctic charr have become landlocked in Ireland and Irish stocks no longer migrate to sea. Arctic charr are extremely sensitive to environmental change such as those brought about by, water abstraction, water pollution and the introduction of predators. Arctic Charr are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species. A Northern Ireland species action plan was published in 2008. Significant work has been undertaken by the Irish Charr Conservation Group throughout Ireland in recent years aimed at improving our knowledge of this fish.

Description

A member of the same family as Atlantic salmon and Trout, Arctic Charr are post glacial colonisers and a rare component of Irish fish fauna. Only found in their non-anadromous form in more southern latitudes and are resident in lakes.

Life Cycle

Freshwater populations feed on planktonic crustaceans, amphipods, molluscs, insects and fish. Extremely sensitive to water pollution and water abstraction they breed in early winter on the littoral or near shore areas of lakes laying their eggs in pockets between appropriately sized cobbles and boulders. After hatching fry and older stages will migrate to deeper parts of a lake for feeding returning to the littoral areas for breeding.
Distribution
International

Europe: northern Atlantic southward to southern Norway, also Iceland and southern Greenland. Isolated populations in Northern UK, Scandinavia, Finland and the Alps.

Foyle and Carlingford Areas

Populations of Arctic Charr have been recorded in a number of lakes within the Foyle area and have demonstrated subtle differences between other known Irish populations including a dwarfed population.