Length-Based Specimens – Conservation Specimens

Length-Based Specimens – Conservation Specimens

The Irish Specimen Fish Committee have made major advances in recent years in fish identifications and weighting by offering genetic identification for several species (where a body may have been  required in the past) and accepts good quality photographs for most species to confirm identification. Verified identification is very important to ensuring high quality specimen data. Anglers are increasingly conservation orientated and submissions have been received by the ISFC from anglers and others in recent years regarding the desirability of using length as a proxy for weight.

How to make a Length-Based Specimen Claim

1.Attach a durable, accurate measuring device to the deck of the boat or use a fish conservation mat (available from Inland Fisheries Ireland or other suppliers).
Inland Fisheries Ireland sells measuring mats online at cost (€19.99) plus postage (€9.00) for a total of €28.99. Two versions are available a 170cm mat ideal for pike, tope, smoothhound and spurdog anglers (and all the other fish unlikely to exceed 170cm) and a 230cm version ideal for sharks and skate.

Buy online at https://permits.fishinginireland.info/product-category/measuring-mats/
2.Place the fish, belly down on the measuring device with its dorsal caudal lobe depressed into line with its body axis (see Figure 2.1).

Figure 2.1: Shark being measured on IGFA measuring mat

3.Record the total length, measured as a point to point distance (not over the curve of the body) from the snout tip to the tip of the dorsal caudal lobe (see Figure 3.1). The snout tip must be placed against a perpendicular front bar or plate to index the 0 cm measurement accurately (see Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.1: Total length measured as a point to point distance

Figure 3.2: Bream being measured on Inland Fisheries Ireland Fish Conservation Mat

4.Fill out relevant details of claim using the existing claim form. Tick box ‘Length based specimen claim’ in Section 1 of form to specify that length only is being measured.
5.Photograph(s) must accompany each length-based specimen claim. Photograph(s) showing fish placed belly down on properly extended measuring device with snout against perpendicular bar or plate with the actual recorded length (cm) visible.
6.The sex of all sharks, skates and rays must be recorded. Males can be identified by their claspers (modified pelvic fins) which are thin elongated paired fins situated behind the pelvic fins. Females do not have claspers but have an opening between the pelvic fins.

SpeciesIrish Record WeightSpecimen WeightLength based SpecimenSpecies Identification reuirements
Bream (Abramis brama)6.07 kg3.402 kg7.5 lbs
Carp (Cyprinus carpio)14.24 kg5.9 kg13 lbs
Dace (Leuciscus leucisus)1 lb2 ozs0.3 kg0.66 lbsScales and Photos
Eel (Anguilla anguilla)6 lbs15 ozssuspended from listings
Gudgeon (Gobio gobio)0.035 kg0.0772≥14cm Fork LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Perch (Perca fluviatilis)5 lbs8 ozs1.2 kg2.646 lbs
Pike (Esox lucius) (Lake)42 lbs12 ozs13.608 kg30 lbs≥115cm Fork Length
Pike (Esox lucius) (River)42 lbs9.072 kg20 lbs≥100cm Fork Length
Roach (Rutilus rutilus)1.425 kg0.907 kg2 lbsScales* and Photos
Roach/Bream Hybrid7 lbs1.6 kg3.528 lbsScales* and Photos
Roach/Rudd Hybrid2.1 kg0.9 kg1.98 lbsScales* and Photos
Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus)--0.9 kg1.98 lbsScales* and Photos
Rudd/Bream Hybrid7 lbs10 ozs1.2 kg2.64 lbsScales* and Photos
Tench (Tinca tinca)8.15 lbs2.722 kg6 lbs≥52cm Fork Length
Salmon (Salmo salar)57 lbs9.072 kg20 lbs≥90cm Fork LengthScales
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) (Lake)26 lbs2 ozs4.536 kg10 lbs≥75cm Fork LengthScales
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) (River)20 lbs2.268 kg5 lbs≥57cm Fork LengthScales
Sea Trout (Salmo trutta)16 lbs6 ozs2.722 kg6 lbs≥64cm Fork LengthScales
Slob Trout (Salmo trutta)--4.536 kg10 lbsScales

SpeciesIrish Record WeightSpecimen WeightLength Based SpecimenSpecies Identification Requirements
Angel Shark (aka Monkfish) (Squatina squatina)73 lbsNo Specimen Weight≥125cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Angler Fish (Lophius piscatorius)42.985 kg8.0 kg17.64 lbsPhotos or Body
Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)17 lbs13 ozs4.536 kg10 lbs≥75cm Total Length
Black Sole (Solea solea)6.32 lbs0.6 kg1.32 lbs
Black Bream (Spondyliosoma cantharus)1.46 kg-0.79 kg1.75 lbs≥36cm Total LengthPhotos or Body
Bluemouth (Helicolenus dactylopterus)1.32 kg0.9 kg1.9845 lbs≥38cm Total LengthPhotos
Brill (Scophthalmus rhombus)9 lbs8 ozs1.6kg3.53 lbsPhotos or Body
Coalfish (Pollachius virens)15.1 kg6.0 kg13.23 lbs≥86cm Total LengthPhotos
Cod (Gadus morhua)42 lbs7.0 kg15.43 lbs≥88cm Total Length
Conger Eel (Conger conger)72 lbs18.144 kg40 lbs≥165cm Total Length
Dab (Limanda limanda)2 lbs5.5 ozs0.6 kg1.32 lbs≥38cm Total LengthPhotos or Body
Dogfish - Blackmouthed (Galeus melastomus)1.33 kg1.0 kg2.205 lbs≥67cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Dogfish - Lesser Spotted (Scyliorhinus caniculus)4 lbs4 ozs1.474 kg3.25 lbsPhoto on measuring mat
Dogfish - Greater Spotted (Scyliorhinus stellaris)23 lbs13 ozs7.257 kg16 lbs≥115cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Dogfish - Spur (Squalus acanthias)11.06 kg5.443 kg12 lbs≥105cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Flounder (Platichthys flesus)4.91 lbs1.1 kg2.4255 lbs≥45cm Total LengthPhotos or Body
Garfish (Belone belone)1.729 lbs1.0 kg2.205 lbs≥89cm Total LengthHead and gills
Garfish (Belone svetovidovi)1.11 lbs0.3 kg0.875 lbsHead and gills
Gilthead Bream (Sparus aurata)3.505 kg1.4 kg3.08 lbs≥42cm Total LengthPhoto (whole body, head shot showing mouth & eyes)
Gurnard - Gray (Eutrigla gurnardus)3 lbs1 ozs0.600 kg≥40cm Total LengthPhotos or Body
Gurnard - Red (Aspitrigla cuculus)3 lbs9.5 ozs0.907 kg2 lbsPhotos or Body
Gurnard - Tub (Trigla lucerna)12 lbs3.5 ozs2.0 kg4.41 lbsPhoto (pectoral fins must be fully expanded
Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglifinus)5.39 kg2.5 kg5.51 lbs≥63cm Total Length
Hake (Merluccius merluccius)25 lbs5.5 ozs2.2 kg4.85 lbs≥68cm Total Length
Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus)156 lbs12 kg26.46 lbs
Herring (Clupea harengus)0.48 kg0.34 kg0.75 lbsPhotos or Body
John Dory (Zeus faber)7 lbs8 ozs1.814 kg4 lbs
Ling (Molva molva)55 lbs11.34 kg25 lbs≥125cm Total Length
Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)4 lbs2 ozs1.0 kg2.5 lbsPhotos or Body
Megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis)1.85 kg0.794 kg1.75 lbs≥49cm Total LengthPhotos or Body
Mullet - Gray, thick lipped (Chelon labrosus)9.1 lbs2.268 kg5 lbsPhotos or Body
Mullet - Golden Gray (Liza aurata)1.52 kg0.68 kg1.5 lbsPhotos or Body
Mullet - Thin Lipped (Liza ramada) 2.95 kg1.5 kg3.31 lbsPhotos or Body
Mullet - Red (Mullus surmuletus)0.82 kg0.4 kg1.0 lbsPhotos or Body
Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)8.23 lbs1.2 kg2.65 lbs≥48cm Total Length
Pollack (Pollachius pollachius)19 lbs3 ozs5.0 kg11.02 lbs≥80cm Total LengthPhotos
Pouting (Trisopterus luscus)4 lbs13.5 ozs1.361 kg3 lbs
Ray - Blonde (Raja brachyura)37 lbs11.34 kg25 lbs≥100cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Cuckoo (Raja naevus)5 lbs11 ozs1.6 kg4.0 lbs≥63cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Electric (Torpedo nobiliana)40 kg9.072 kg20 lbsPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Homelyn (Raja montagui)8.28 lbs2.268 kg5 lbs≥65cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Painted (Raja microocellata)17.21 lbs4.536 kg10 lbs≥80cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Sting (Dasyatis pastinaca)33.2 kg13.0 kg30 lbs≥90cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Thornback (Raja clavata)37 lbs7.0 kg17.64 lbs≥100cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray - Undulate (Raja undulata)18 lbsNo specimen weight≥85cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Ray's Bream (Brama brama)6 lbs4.25 ozs2.0 kg4.41 lbsPhotos or Body
Red Sea Bream (Pagellus bogaraveo)9 lbs6 ozs1.0 kg4.0 lbs
Rockling – Shore (Gaidropsarus mediterraneus)†≥30cm Total Length†Photo on measuring mat
Rockling, Three Bearded (Gaidropsarus vulgaris)3 lbs1 oz0.794 kg1.75 lbsPhotos or Body
Scad (Trachurus trachurus)1.97 lbs0.680 kg1.5 lbs≥44cm Total LengthPhotos or Body
Shad – Allis (Alosa alosa)- -1.814 kg4 lbsScales
Shad - Twaite (Alosa fallax)1.54 kg≥50cm Total LengthScales
No weight based claims, unless new record
Shark - Blue (Prionace glauca)206 lbs45.359 kg100 lbs≥185cm Fork LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Shark - Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)- - 90.718 kg200 lbsPhoto on measuring mat
Shark - Porbeagle (Lamna nasus)365 lbsNo Specimen weight≥180cm Fork LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Shark - Six-Gilled (Hexanchus griseus)480 kg45.359 kg100 lbsPhoto on measuring mat
Shark – Thresher (Alopias vulpinus)- -54.431 kg120 lbsPhoto on measuring mat
Short Spined Sea Scorpion (Myoxocephalus scorpius)†0.26.573≥25cm Total Length†
Skate - Common (Raja batis)221 lbsNo Specimen Weight≥180cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Skate – Long Nosed (Raja oxyrinchus)--36.287 kg80 lbsPhoto on measuring mat
Skate - White (Raja alba)165 lbsNo Specimen Weight≥180cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Smooth-Hound (Mustelas asterias)11.27 kg4.5 kg9.94 lbs≥103cm Total LengthPhoto on measuring mat
Stone Basse (Polyprion americanus)11.72 lbs3.628 kg8 lbs
Tope (Galeorhinus galeus)34.02 kg8 ozs18.144 kg40 lbs≥155cm Total Length PPhoto on measuring mat
Torsk (Brosme brosme)4.858 kg2.5 kg5.51 lbsPhotos or Body
Trigger Fish (Balistes carolinensis)2.54 kg1.474 kg3.25 lbsPhoto
Tuna - Albacore (Thunnus alalunga)29.96 kg12 kg26.46 lbsPhoto
Tuna - Bluefin (Thunnus thynnus)440 kgsuspended from listings
Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus)34 lbs5 kg11.02 lbs
Whiting (Merlangius merlangus)4 lbs14.5 ozs1.361 kg3 lbs
Wrasse Ballan (Labrus bergylta)4.3 kg2.154 kg4.75 lbs≥48cm Total LengthPhoto
Wrasse – Corkwing (Symphodus melops)†0.0150.033≥24cm Total LengthPhoto
Wrasse Cuckoo (Labrus mixtus)2 lbs7 ozs0.567 kg1.25 lbs≥35cm Total LengthPhoto

The ISFC requests that all specimen fish are measured according to table below

Measurement (cm) required
ALL Marine species
(except blue sharks and porbeagle sharks)
Total lengthPlace fish on top of measuring device and measure in an straight line from tip of snout to end of tail
ALL Marine species
(except ray and skate)
GirthMeasure greatest girth using tape measure - usually in front of dorsal fin
Ray and skateWingspanPlace fish on top of measuring device and measure from wingtip to windtip
ALL Freshwater speciesForklengthPlace fish on top of measuring device and measure from tip of snout to middle rays of tail
ALL Sharks, Rays and SkatesSex - state on claim form if fish is male or femaleMales can be identifies by their claspers (modified pelvic fins) which are thin elongated paired fins situated behind the pelvic fins. Females do not have claspers but have an opening between the pelvic fins.

Length-Based Specimens

Tope , Spur Dogfish, Smooth-Hound and Blue Shark can be claimed as length-based specimens. The threshold length for Blue Shark is 190 cm and this is a forklength value (based on length-weight data from Mejuto et al., 2008). Weight-based specimens will be accepted for these species but only three claims for any one species will be allowed. Anglers are encouraged to operate on a catch-and-release basis where feasible. Other species may be considered for inclusion as length-based specimens in the future.

Length (cm) threshold values for Spur Dogfish, Smooth Hound, Tope and Blue Shark

Spur Dogfish: 105 cm

Smooth-Hound: 100 cm

Tope: 160 cm

Blue Shark: 190 cm forklength

Special Note: SPUR DOGFISH

Squalis acanthias is deemed vulnerable (IUCN, 2012) and a zero Total Allowable Catch (TAC) applied in EU waters in 2012. Recognising their vulnerable status ISFC has decided that Spurdog will be regarded as a length based specimen from 2014 onwards.

Where the angler can be proactive in claiming specimens?

The Irish Specimen Fish Committee encourages all anglers to return specimen fish alive whenever feasible. ISFC rules do not require that all fish species are killed to claim a specimen. This is a misconception by many with regard to claiming a specimen. Bodies are required for a small number of species but good quality photography is alleviating this requirement and most anglers have access to good cameras.

Angler preparedness is key to claiming a specimen and ISFC is keen to assist anglers to practice catch and release of specimens. If the angler has a certified personal scales* he can weigh the live specimen on land and return it alive to the water. Fish caught on a boat require to be weighed on terra firma (i.e. point of departure, island, rocky outcrop) to ensure weights are accurate as fish cannot be weighed accurately “on board”. Most coarse fish, pike and sea anglers are well versed in weighing specimens and have personalised or certified club weighing scales with them when angling. Trout and salmon anglers need to embrace this approach so that they can practice catch, weigh, photograph, release and claim their specimen fish.