ENVIRONMENT bosses are urging anglers in Bolton and Bury to report unusual catches or sightings of invasive pink salmon.

This comes after unprecedented numbers have been detected further south than previously observed.

Pink salmon, also known as humpback salmon, could carry diseases which threaten native fish stocks.

Environment Agency specialists have predicted the pink salmon will be spotted in North West rivers in coming weeks.

This includes the River Croal, River Tonge, the River Irwell, Bradshaw Brook and more. Data collected from sightings will help the agency and fisheries researchers better understand how to manage their arrival in the UK.

Simon Toms, the agency’s National Fisheries Management Team Leader, said: “Wild Atlantic salmon stocks are already under great pressure from a variety of sources. The introduction of novel parasites or diseases from invasive species, such as Pacific pink salmon, could represent an additional risk.

“We want to better understand the immediate risk pink salmon could represent to our wild salmon stocks. We are urging anglers to report the capture or sightings of all pink salmon to us as soon as possible.”

Previously pink salmon have been caught in the River Tyne and in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and western Ireland. Examinations of these salmon revealed no notable disease or novel parasites. But the agency has stressed anglers, fisheries managers and netsmen need to remain vigilant.

Pink salmon have large oval spots on the tail, are generally bluish back, with silver flanks and white belly and have much smaller scales than the Atlantic salmon, and are around 40 to 60cm in length.

Trout and coarse anglers are asked to call the agency on 0800 80 70 60, If unsuccessful they should return the salmon to the water.