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Tel: +44 (0) 28 7134 2100

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2,000 Native Trees Planted along the River Roe

20 March 2014
This month 2,000 native broadleaf trees of various species have been planted along the River Roe in the Glenshane Pass area. This is part of an ongoing multi-year partnership between Loughs Agency, local landowners, Woodland Trust and Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The benefits of upland native tree planting have been demonstrated over recent years. In addition to the direct biodiversity benefits additional ecosystem services are provided. These include improved feeding for river invertebrates which rely on deciduous leaf litter, reduction of erosion and sedimentation and slowing down of overland water flows. Additional climate change mitigation may also occur in the longer term with the potential for cooling of river water temperature during hot summer conditions by providing shade. In 2013, some river temperatures in the Foyle area were recorded as high as 27°C in unshaded sections of upland streams.

John Pollock, Chief Executive of Loughs Agency said ‘this project continues to be a great example of partnerships working towards delivering significant sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits to local communities.’

For further information on the project contact Art Niven at

Living Seas Photo Exhibition

26 March 2014
Ulster Wildlife Trust has a vision of ‘Living Seas’. Within ‘Living Seas’, marine wildlife thrives, from the depths of the ocean to the coastal shallows.

Last year Ulster Wildlife Trust ran a photographic competition with a ‘Living Seas’ theme.

The public were asked to submit photographs capturing this them against different categories such as ‘Plant Life, ‘The Sea and Me’, ‘Underwater’ and ‘Animal Portrait’.

The entries of the category winners, overall runner up and overal winner are now being exhibited at different locations around Northern Ireland and Loughs Agency are delighted to have the exhibition at our headquarters in Prehen for 4 weeks (26th Mar – 24th Apr).

The local images showcase the beautiful and inspring marine wildlife we have on, above and below the surface of the seas around Northern Ireland.

Winner of ‘Plant Life’ Rob Spray said ‘some divers don’t appreciate the beauty of the kelp forest but it is a spectacular place, the bright end of many dives and home to a huge biodviersity of animals and algae living on and under the canopy’.

Brian McCready photograph ‘Colours of the Coast’ was taken on the rocks between the beaches of Tyrella and Ballykilner as the sun broke through the clouds and brought the colours of the coast to life.

Ulster Wildlife Trust are currently running their 2014 competition which closes at the end of July. Click here for more information.

Visitors are encouraged to come a view exhibition at Loughs Agency. Open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. Tel: 02871 342100 for more information.

Bottlenose Dolphins Accompany Loughs Agency On Routine Patrol

02 May 2014
Whilst on routine patrol off the Inishowen coast in late April the crew of the Lough Bradán came across yet another pod of bottlenose dolphins, we also ran into a very large pod of bottlenose in October 2013. This pod was smaller at between 10-20 individuals with some very large dolphins, possibly females in calf, and they were happy to bow ride the front of the boat for 10-15 minutes.

Bottlenose dolphins eat between 8/15 kg of fish, normally inshore, bottom dwelling fish. They will also take salmon, plaice, eels, small sharks, rays, hermit crabs, shrimps & mullet. They have also been known to take larger, pelagic fish. In captivity they have been recorded taking large fish to the bottom, rubbing them on a rock to break the backbone, remove the head for ease of swallowing.

They usually hunt in co-operative groups, herding and corralling their prey into shallow water and while two stand sentry, they will take turns thrusting into the terrified ball of herring, sprat or mackerel (normal prey off our Irish coasts) and pick them off at their leisure. These feeding frenzies often attract other predators and the bottlenose dolphins’ intelligent ploy benefits the assembled predators and entire shoals of fish can be wiped out in this way.

There is known to be several small pods of dolphins circumnavigating the Irish coast and hopefully next time photo id can be done to identify which group this is. IBIS have currently got a researcher (Suzanne Beck)who has deployed an acoustic receiver in the Inishowen coastal area and with this sighting she should be able to match the vocalisations she has recorded to this group of dolphins. Suzanne will also be listening for other marine mammals such as porpoises, minke whales and even the killer whales that migrate past Inishowen every year.

Click here to see the short video of the Dolphins on patrol

Lough Foyle Oyster Fishery Licence Applications

27 May 2014
Interested parties are invited to apply for a licence to fish the 2014/2015 Native Oyster fishery. Applicants will be required to submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the address listed below. All applications must be delivered in person by the applicant.

Application forms are available for downloaded here.

Hard copies of the application form are available at Loughs Agency Headquarters in Derry ~ Londonderry as per the contact details listed below and the Greencastle Office, Greencastle Community Centre.

Interested parties must have completed applications with the Loughs Agency on or before Thursday 31st July 2014.

Licence Fee: £150 or €166

No late applications will be accepted.

Loughs Agency Headquarters
22 Victoria Road
Derry ~ Londonderry
BT47 2AB

Northern Ireland

Tel: +44 (0) 28 71 342100
Fax: +44 (0) 28 71 342720

Opening Hours 09:00 – 17:00 Monday-Friday

Free Dinghy and Keel Boat Sailing

27 May 2014
Loughs Agency are offering FREE Dinghy Sailing and FREE Keel Boat sailing to schools, small groups and individuals during June.

FREE Dinghy Taster Sessions are available to post primary schools in the run up to the LegenDerry Maritime Festival which will welcome the return of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

The sessions will be delivered by Inish Adventures (formerly known as Just Kayak) at their centre in Moville from Monday 9th June to Friday 13th June. Each session can accommodate 25 participants, with 2 sessions per day (starting at 9.30am and 12.30pm) and lasting for 2.5hrs. The sessions will focus on dinghy sailing with some shore based activities also.

All equipment (wetsuits, buoyancy aids etc) will be provided. However, participants will need to bring a towel, swim wear, refreshments and change of clothes. Schools must arrange parental/guardian consent, teacher supervision and transport.

Loughs Agency are also offering FREE keel boat sailing taster sessions on the River Foyle for small groups and individuals.

The sessions will run Saturday 21st – Friday 27th June from the Foyle Marina. All safety equipment, including sailing gear, is provided. Ocean Youth Trust Ireland will deliver these sessions which last approximately 45 minutes and accommodate 6 passengers at a time. The sessions will be delivered in boats that are capable of being safely operated under sail in the confines of the city centre river.

To book or enquire about any of these sessions, please telephone 02871 342100 or

Rainbow Trout Alert for Faughan and Derg

04 July 2014
Loughs Agency have become increasingly aware that a number of Rainbow Trout have appeared in both the River Faughan and River Derg.

Where the Loughs Agency generally encourages anglers to practice catch and release methodologies, in the case of rainbow trout Loughs Agency would be grateful if angler could do the following:

1. Remove and kill all rainbow trout caught.
2. Note the time, date and place of capture.
3. If possible leave samples of rainbow trout caught into the Loughs Agency Headquarters, Prehen or contact a Fishery Officer and ask him/her to transport these samples to Prehen for further evaluation and analysis.

The pictures and text below highlights the difference between rainbow trout and other trout species prepared by our Biologists.

Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and brown trout Salmo trutta are in the same family (the Salmonidae) but are different species. They have the same ancestors but divided into two groups around 15-20 million years ago. Oncorhynchus became isolated in the North Pacific and Salmo in the North Atlantic.

Rainbow Trout can have a pink stripe running down either side of the fish. However rainbow rainbows are often muted in color and thus they sometimes appear more silver than pink. Rainbow Trout do not have leading, white, edges on their Pectoral, Pelvic, and Anal fins and they do not have light colored halos around the dots on their sides. Also, when the pink color is muted, they will often display a faint pattern of diamonds placed adjacent to each other running down each side of their body.

Flying the Flag for Seafood at Flavours of the Foyle

16 July 2014
Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Festival will take place on 26th & 27th July in Guildhall Square Derry from 12 noon – 6pm. The event which attracted a staggering 20,000 visitors last year celebrates seafood that is ‘caught here not brought here’ in the hope that visitors and locals alike will be hooked on fish!
Live cookery demonstrations will be on the menu in the seafood festival marquee and the venue will be sizzling with 14 restaurant chef stations providing authentic seafood dishes to try and to buy. Dishes on offer will range from locally sources hake, flat bed mussels, chowder and cod and dishes and will include local flavours and oriental twists. The event, organised by Derry City Council has been generously sponsored by the Loughs Agency and DARD under the NI Regional Food Programme. Accompanying family entertainment will include the ‘Taste Adventure’ and Loughs Agency Riverwatch Aquarium’s Touch tank. Younger visitors will enjoy free fishy crafts and there are opportunities to enjoy comedy with Lobster a la Carte, and the Cod Choir. Flavours of the Foyle’ brings with it a flurry of entertainment for the young and young at heart with street theatre, storytelling with ‘fishy tales’, puppetry, a marine touch tank, storytelling, Spreya the Mermaid, Giant Lobsters and other fun activities.

The boulevard of chefs and theatre of food will include demonstrations from acclaimed TV and Radio chefs Paula McIntyre (BBC) and Brian McDermott (RTE). Also taking part at the event is Derry’s own Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant in the city, recent winner of the Irish Chef of the Year award in the Georgina Campbell awards 2013. They will join a range of acclaimed local and celebrity chefs to share a little seafood magic at the event.

The Seafood Festival will be combined with the city-wide Seafood Trail which takes place across 20 restaurants citywide, with varied fish dishes on offer for a full week from the beginning of the festival.

Download flyer – click here

Download programme –click here

Event promotional video – click here

Pictured at the launch of Flavours of the Foyle are The Mayor of Derry City Council Councillor Brenda Stevenson, John Pollock, Chief Executive, Lough’s Agency, Mary Blake Derry City Council Event Organiser and Dr. Julie-Ann Moorhead, DARD NI Regional Food Programme.

Fishery Officers seize nets and fish under attack

21 July 2014
Loughs Agency Conservation and Protection staff seized the nets and fish in an operation one night last week in the upper river Foyle. The large number of fish lost is of significant regret to the Loughs Agency staff.

The number of fish caught in illegal nets is not unusual, and Fisheries Officers make continued efforts in all conditions to release fish from the nets when they are seized.

However on this occasion our Fishery Officers came under sustained stoning attack from poachers and their associates on the shore and had to board the net with the fish in it quickly to ensure their own safety.

Loughs Agency Fishery Officers continue to apprehend persons illegally fishing and seize illegal nets and other equipment.

Loughs Agency can only protect this valuable resource with the help of the public and rivers users if you can help identify any person illegally catching salmon, buying, selling or transporting salmon please help.

Loughs Agency staff are aware that some of the persons involved are violent individuals and will guarantee anonymity to anyone who contacts us on 07736374134 with information.

Marine Wildlife Roadshow moves to Newry

29 July 2014
As part of National Marine Week, Loughs Agency are delighted to announce that the Marine Wildlife Roadshow’s next stop is Newry. The roadshow will be set up in The Quays from Friday 1st to Monday 4th August.
The Marine Wildlife Roadshow features life sized models of UK marine wildlife species, including whales, dolphins, porpoise and seal, plus sharks and turtles, all of which can be seen around the coastline of Northern Ireland. Lots of info and answers to your questions, plus a chance to take a “selfie” alongside your favourite creature – so bring your phone or camera!

Jade Berman, Living Seas Manager with Ulster Wildlife said, “Many people see the sea simply as a huge expanse of water, but under the surface lie habitats every bit as varied as those on land, which support thousands of creatures, from seahorses to giant basking sharks. National Marine Week is very much a celebration of our fascinating marine life and offers everyone a chance to find out so much more about what our seas have to offer. Once they know what’s out there, we have no doubt that many more people will want to see our marine habitats and wildlife properly protected.”

Gillian Simpson from Loughs Agency said, “This is a great opportunity to learn more about our marine life and ask the experts questions about our local species. We’re bringing our marine discovery tank along with lots of smaller marine fish and shellfish such as crabs, starfish and anemones”.

Ulster Wildlife Trust will also be there with marine themed arts and crafts for the kids – so lots to see and do!

For more information contact Gillian Simpson at 02871 342100 or

Live Strandings Course

30 July 2014
Dr Simon Berrow from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group will facilitate a hands-on training course on how to handle whales and dolphins that have been stranded on our shores.

Gillian Simpson from the Loughs Agency said ‘we are delighted to fund this training course as part of the National Marine Week celebrations’.

The course is open to participants working or volunteering in the Foyle area in one of the following sectors: marine tourism/industry, wildlife service, rescue agency, environmental organisation.

The indoor module will include rescue theory, whale first aid and beach co-ordination. For the afternoon outdoor module participants will get into the water refloating life-size modules of whales and dolphins and learn how to use pontoons in a rescue situation.

The course takes place on Saturday 16th August from 10am – 5pm in Greencastle and a nearby beach. It’s free of charge to qualifying participants. Participants must bring a wetsuit, towel and a lunch.

If you would like to apply or need more information please contact Trish Murphy on 00353876478183 or Gillian Simpson on 07736374127.

Arts and Craft Workshops at Riverwatch Aquarium

05 August 2014
Join us tomorrow afternoon(Wed 2pm – 4.30pm)as we start our summer series of art workshops. Tomorrow, local artist Sinead Smyth will be hosting a life drawing workshop for visitors inspired by the fish and shellfish in the visitor centre. Or if crafting is more your thing we’ll be making chinese fish kites as well.
Over the remainder of the summer Sinead will be hosting a variety of art and craft sessions at Riverwatch.
Gillian Simpson from Loughs Agency said ‘we want visitors to really engage with and be inspired by the local fish species we have in our aquarium. Visitors, young and the young at heart, will have the opportunity to create something wonderful during the summer art sessions as a keepsake and mometo of their visit to Riverwatch’.
Sessions planned for over the next few weeks are as follows:
• Wednesday 6th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Thursday 7th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Friday 8th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Wednesday 13th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Thursday 14th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Friday 15th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Tuesday 19th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Thursday 21st August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Thursday 28th August 2pm – 4.30pm
• Friday 29th August 2pm – 4.30pm
For more information, email

River Discovery Day – Friday 15th August

07 August 2014
Another free, fun and informative event from Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership and Loughs Agency. Don’t miss the third annual ‘River Discovery Day’ at Riverwatch aquarium in Prehen, on Friday 15th August from 12.00 noon – 4.00pm. Numerous environmental organisations will be there with to provide fun activities for children while educating on the important work they do. Visitors can also have a go at fishing, canoeing, willow craft, creative art and getting up close to butterflies, moths and birds of prey.

Loughs Agency will have a number of interactive displays of their work. Gillian Simpson, Information Services Officer with Loughs Agency stated, ‘“The River Discovery Day will help visitors realise the variety of life the that the Foyle catchment supports and the range of activities the river can offer. The Loughs Agency are delighted to host this family friendly event at our Riverwatch Aquarium and would encourage people to come along – all activities are free!”

Mayor Cllr. Brenda Stevenson also encourages people to attend, ‘This will be a fun event for all ages, from feeding time in the aquarium to moth displays in the garden there will be something to amuse anyone with an interest in wildlife and learning more.’

The Faughan Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme involves a working partnership between RAPID, Derry City Council and the Woodland Trust supported by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), ‘Landscape Partnerships’. The project vision is to “create a vibrant, natural and cultural diverse landscape within the Faughan Valley that the whole community appreciates, and is engaged with, making it a sustainable landscape for living”.

For more information please contact Annie Mullan, Tel: 028 71337498. Email:

The Tale of the Whale – Dopey Dick (Fri 19th Sept)

19 September 2014
Culture Night in Derry~Londonderry 2014 promises to be unique cultural experience for visitors and locals alike, when venues across our historic city will throw open their doors to invite the public inside to explore, experience and enjoy local culture.

At Riverwatch, we’re exploring the tale of Dopey Dick. Do you remember ‘Dopey Dick’? The Killer Whale that swam up the River in the 1970’s? On Culture Night Seoirse O Dochartaigh will be telling the story about this massive marine mammal and his journey to the Foyle. We’ll also have marine themed arts and crafts with Artist Sinead Smyth. Sinead will deliver a workshop making whale and fish puppets using a newspaper sculpting technique. Kids can twist and turn a fish out of water and decorate them with vibrant colour and sparkles. This is sure to be a popular event for little mariners – so booking is essential. Tel 02871 342100 or email:

Session 1 begins at 5pm followed by another at 6pm and the last session at 7pm. There’s only space for 20 kids per session so please book early to avoid disappointment. It’s FREE and suitable for ages 6+!

The rest of the city will come alive to the sound and spectacle of live music, theatre, dance and mini festivals as cultural venues and performers deliver a magical evening of Free Entertainment for all the family from 5pm. A wide range of indoor and outdoor events that showcase the city’s diverse cultural talents and unique historical significance have been programmed and include art workshops and exhibitions, cultural traditions, jazz cabaret, museum visits, dance, film, literature, circus skills and more.

A full programme of events is available on the Derry City Council website.

Ladies Learn to Fish Event (Sat 11th Oct)

07 October 2014
We’re hosting a ‘Ladies Learn to Fish’ event this Saturday (11th Oct 10am-3pm) at Loughs Agency, Prehen, Derry~ Londonderry. The event will enable participants learn to fish safely, legally and with lots of fun thrown in for good measure!

Angling is a healthy outdoor activity which promotes well-being. One thing that stops people taking part is that it is, to some extent, a ‘hidden sport’. Unless you know an angler you can ask or who will take you out, it is difficult to know how to get started. The sessions on Saturday are aimed at any group or individual who want to learn all about angling, from how to set up a rod with the reel and line, to using bait or lures, to hooking and successfully landing fish. At the end you will be able to go fishing and even have confidence to show others how it is done.

These sessions are ‘tailored to fit’ and an opportunity for anyone to try angling, even if it is something you or your group have never thought of trying. Individuals can be catered for by joining in with similar minded people in groups.

The main object though is to have fun while learning about fishing and there will be plenty of actual fishing. This goes for courses too, if you decide to follow-up on your taster session. The sessions are popular and must be booked.

The sessions can lead to full courses if any individual or group wish to have them and may lead to being involved in further Loughs Agency angling promotions like competitions and youth fishing leagues.

The Loughs Agency are running these taster sessions to promote angling in the Foyle And Carlingford catchments as it is one of their objectives to promote the sustainable use of fisheries in complying with their functions – the improvement and development of fisheries for recreational purposes. As a cross-border body their promotion takes place on both sides of the border so groups from anywhere within the Foyle and Carlingford catchments are eligible. As women and youths have been identified as under-represented in the angling sector, interest from these groups is especially welcome.

For more information or to book please contact Gillian Simpson via email or on 02871 342100 or 07736374127.

Halloween Programme @ Riverwatch

08 October 2014
Mon 27th – Fri 31st – Riverwatch Visitor Centre The Riverwatch Aquarium and Visitor Centre in Prehen would like to invite all the ghouls and buoys to come along for its spook-tacular week of fun on Monday 27th October –Friday 31st October. Come dressed for the occasion and join the pirate treasure hunt, spooky trails, wicked wildlife and lots more FREE fearful fun for all the family this Halloween. Our centre is open from Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm and we have some additional visitors running workshops that week also.
Monday 27th October – W5 Science Magic Show *Fully Booked*

This Magic Show will show you the wonders of science through some spooky experiments. (Limited availability and booking essential). Suitable for 6+ year olds. Tel: 02871 342100 to book.

Show 1 – 10.30 – 11.20

Show 2 – 11.30 – 12.20

Show 3 – 12.30 – 1.20

Show 4 – 2.30 – 3.20

Tuesday 28th October – Belfast Zoo *Fully Booked*

The Zoo are bringing dragons and pythons and some more mysterious creatures to celebrate Halloween in the City this year. Come along and hear more about these curious creatures from the Belfast Zoo’s education team. (Limited availability and booking essential). Suitable for 5+ year olds. Tel: 02871 342100 to book.

Show 1 – 11.00 – 11.45

Show 2 – 12.00 – 12.45

Show 3 – 1.00 – 1.45

Wednesday 29th October – World of Owls *Fully Booked*

Discover a different world when the World of Owls fly into Riverwatch. (Limited availability and booking essential). Suitable for 5+ year olds. Tel: 02871 342100 to book.

Show 1 – 10.00 – 10.45

Show 2 – 11.00 – 11.45

Show 3 – 12.00 – 12.45

Show 4 – 1.00 – 1.45

Thursday 30th October – RSPB

The RSPB are flying into Riverwatch during Halloween week to involve families in a ‘bugs and beasties bio-blitz’ and make creepy-crawly creations. Find out about winged wonders of the night, predators and prey, all things prickly and how to give nature a Halloween home in your garden. From 10am – 4pm. (no booking required)

Friday 31st October – Creepy Crafts and Story Telling

Join us on Halloween day for some crafty shenanigans. We’ll have story-telling to get you spooked out, pumpkin carving to light the way into the evening and face painting so you can disguise yourself before the spooks come out! No booking but limited availability and on a first come first served basis.

10am – 12pm Story-telling and Pumpkin Carving (Suitable for 6+ year olds).

1pm – 4pm Arts and Crafts and Face Painting (Suitable for 3+ year olds).

To book contact or telephone 02871 342100. Booking is on a first come first served basis with limited availability due to the space available.

Learn to Fish – Ladies Event (Sat 18th Oct)

14 October 2014
Over the past 3 weeks, Loughs Agency has been running workshops on Saturdays for ladies who are interested in angling. During these sessions participants have gained new skills and knowledge on a casting, releasing, fly tying, etc.

We’ve gathered about 20 evaluations and the remaining 3 weeks will be focusing on the specific areas of interest as well as coaching and hands on practice.

This Saturday (18th) there will be a short presentation on fishery rules/laws, types of fish and where to fish. Bait, knots, techniques will be covered in a short workshop. We will continue to have fly tying, fishing and fly casting (on the lawn) as 45 minute workshops – limiting the time on the pond so that everybody gets a go!

Time Lecture Room Pond Lawn Reception
10.15- 11.00 Presentation on fishery rules, types of fish, where to fish
11.15 – 12.00 Knots, tackle, bait workshop Fishing x 8 Casting practice
12.00 – 12.30 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
12.30 – 1.15 Fly Tying Fishing x 8 Casting practice
1.15 – 2.00 Fly Tying Fishing x 8 Casting practice
2.00 – 2.45 Gutting

For week 5 we plan to invite female guest speakers and there will be opportunity for hands on practice in casting, tying, catching, releasing, etc. In the final week, we plan to visit a local fishery so participants can put into practice all the skills learnt during the previous sessions.

If you would like to come along this Saturday please contact us via Tel: 02871 342100 or by email to Booking in helps us prepare and ensure there are enough coaches. There will be tea/coffee and refreshments on arrival and throughout the day. If you’re planning on staying all day may be bring a few sandwiches for yourself!

INTO THE DEEP @ Titanic this weekend

22 October 2014
INTO THE DEEP is Titanic Belfast’s annual marine festival. This year we’re delighted to be involved with our marine discovery tank. Visitors are encouraged to dive into the depths, learn how we explore this alien landscape and discover more about the mysterious undersea world.

This year, the family-friendly festival is focussing on some of the largest and most exciting sea creatures to be found on our doorstep. The Andrews Gallery will host an exhibition of life size, inflatable whales and dolphins, a variety of talks from marine experts, marine survival demonstrations which stem from Titanic’s legacy, a mini rock pool aquarium, everyday beach finds, and an opportunity to get hands-on and conduct your own marine science experiments as well as marine-themed arts & crafts – there is something to entertain young and old!

For adults, they will have the life-size exhibition, with background information on these amazing marine creatures, ‘taster’ talks from various marine experts, and science experiments. There will also be interactive displays from EnAlgae (creating fuel from seaweed) and Survitec (marine rescue equipment specialists).

To captivate younger guests they have a Kid Zone, with storybook corner, ‘shark attack’ mini-ball pool game, jigsaws and other games. For the more intrepid young explorers (8-10 year olds), they have marine-themed arts & crafts activities, Andy’s amazing collection of beach finds, Clayrazy (make a take-home piece of modelling clay art). With exciting, hands-on science experiments, everyone will have the opportunity to investigate some of the principles behind ocean exploration and shipbuilding.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Note: Visit Titantic Belfast website for booking details

Ladies Awarded First CAST Certificates in Ireland

18 November 2014
On Saturday 15th November at Loughs Agency, 7 ladies were proudly awarded their CAST Level 1 Certificate for angling achievement. This is the first time the certificates have been issued in Ireland. The certificate is for angling achievement and is awarded by First for Sport, SportNI, Angling Trust and Loughs Agency.

Ladies Event at Loughs Agency

Receiving the first certificate in Ireland was Caroline Jeffrey. Caroline, a wheelchair user, has undertaken 6 weeks of coaching with professionally qualified angling instructors to hone her skills. After the first week of training, Caroline caught her first salmon whilst fishing in the River Roe. Caroline puts her successful catch solely down to the coaching and an adaptation to her chair during the coaching sessions at Loughs Agency. 5 weeks later and she is unstoppable and can’t wait for the rivers to open again! After receiving her award Caroline said ‘thanks to all the staff and instructors for their time and patience’. Caroline now wants to progress onto CAST Level 2.

The second person to receive the CAST Level 1 was Dr Pauline McClenaghan. Pauline is an experienced angler who represented Ireland in the Ladies Home International Fly Fishing Series in Wales and earlier this year was named Sports Person of the Year in the Derry Journal People of the Year Awards.

Lionel Knobbs, Angling Development Manager at Loughs Agency said ‘The CAST awards are written as a series of progressive steps to enable anglers to strive to meet their full potential and go from Starter to CAST 6. They enable anglers in all disciplines to develop skills at their own pace and with recognition of their efforts at each stage. We’re very proud at Loughs Agency to have 7 ladies as the first people in Ireland to receive these certificates.’

This Saturday (22ndNov) at Loughs Agency you too can participate. The sessions are open to anyone (aged 8+) who would be interested in learning how to fish and achieving their Starter Certificate or Level 1. There are sessions at 10am, 12pm and 2pm which must be booked in advance by emailing or telephone 02871 342100. The coaching is complimentary and there is a £1 charge for the certificate which will be used for angling development programmes.

New Video: Irish Atlantic salmon, sea trout, brown trout and lamprey monitoring and surveying techniques

10 December 2014
The Loughs Agency conducts a comprehensive freshwater fisheries monitoring programme which is composed of many different projects. The video highlights three of these projects and outlines various survey techniques and equipment used. Do you know the difference between a sea trout and salmon smolt, precocious parr, brook and river lampreys? When is electrofishing used rather than netting? This video answers these questions and more.

Click here to view

Riverwatch – Temporarily Closed Until May 2015

18 December 2014
Please be advised that the Riverwatch Aquarium and Visitor Centre will be closed until further notice. We are currently upgrading the background systems. We’ll be continuing with our educational outreach programmes and we’ll keep you posted on when the Aquarium will re-open. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. Thanks.

The Foyle Area (Complimentary Angling Permit) (River Finn and River Foyle) Regulations 2014

8 January 2015
These regulations prescribe the persons or bodies to whom complimentary angling permits may be issued for use in the defined areas of the River Finn and River Foyle.
These include:

pupils at a school;
the managers or any member of staff of a school;
persons or bodies which have entered into a written contract with the Commission to provide promotional events; or
persons or bodies who manage waters on behalf of the commission
where a disabled pupil has a carer, that carer shall be deemed to be a member of staff of school for the purposes of these regulations.

A full copy of the regulation can be found here.


25 February 2015
To celebrate the opening of the 2015 Salmon Season in the Foyle catchment, Loughs Agency are hosting a free event in Stranorlar, Co Donegal on Sunday 1st March 2015 (10-3pm).
Atlantic Salmon move into the Finn in preparation for spawning later in the year and are a prized catch for those who catch fish with rod and line. From 1st March – 15th September local anglers and those who come to stay in the area on angling holidays try to catch them in one of the most attractive catchments in Ireland. Early in the season is the best time to catch the most elusive Spring Salmon, the first fish to arrive in any season.

Following an opening ceremony on the river organised by Glenmore Estate Fishery, the Loughs Agency event in the Finn Valley Leisure Centre will inform visitors about the fishing available in the area, with representatives from local angling clubs and angling providers available on site. Lough Agency will also be launching the ‘River Finn Angling Status’ report & ‘River Finn Development Plan’.

Lionel Knobbs, Angling Development Manager at Loughs Agency said ‘this weekend angling coaches are available to teach individuals how to cast with spinner or fly. With their expert tuition everyone will soon be confident enough to want to try fishing for themselves. All casters will have a chance to earn a CAST award, the new angling qualification promoted by the Agency. Fly tiers and lure makers will show the flies and spinners that work on local rivers and highlight that with catch and release regulations remaining in place, these must use a single barbless hook’.

Suspension of netting in the River Foyle, Lough Foyle and Seaward of Lough Foyle

01 March 2015
CEO John Pollock has signed a declaration suspending netting in the River Foyle, Lough Foyle and Seaward of Lough Foyle and restricting angling in the River Finn to catch and release.
The basis for the declaration is that the number of salmon travelling up stream of the River Finn Fish counter during the past 5 years has not exceeded 5,410 as stipulated by the Foyle Area (Control of Fishing) Regulations 2010.

A copy of the declaration can be found here.

Loughs Agency Sustainable Development Fund Opens – Call for Applications

13 March 2015
The Lough’s Agency have formally announced the opening of their 2015 Sustainable Development Fund Programme commencing on Friday 13th March 2015. The Agency is encouraging applications from the public, private, community and voluntary sectors for financial assistance to support angling development, conservation and protection of fisheries and marine tourism in the Foyle and Carlingford catchments.
Grant aid at a rate of 75% up to £7,500.00 is available for eligible development projects with a further grant of up to £1,000.00 accessible for events and festivals
The closing date for applications is Wednesday 1st April 2015 at 4pm.
Application forms are available by download from links below or by application to Loughs Agency. Application is solely by submission of the official application form by email or postal delivery or hand delivery to the Loughs Agency headquarters building. Please note that the Agency accepts no responsibility for misdirected, delayed or lost applications (electronic or otherwise).

Information sessions will be held in the following venues:

Date Time Location
Wed 18th March 10.00 – 12.00
Greencastle Community Centre: Room 2
Co Donegal
Wed 18th March 2.30 – 4.30
Loughs Agency HQ
22 Victoria Road
BT47 2AB
Wed 18th March 7.00 – 9.00pm
Limavady Rugby Club
Desmesne Place
BT49 0HG
Thursday 19th March 10.00 – 12.00
Strule Arts Centre (Dance Studio)
Townhall Square
BT78 1BL
Thursday 19th March 2.30 – 4.30
Finn Valley Leisure Centre
Thursday 19th March 6.00 – 8.00pm
Alley Arts & Conference Centre:Room 4
1a Railway Street
County Tyrone
BT82 3EF
Friday 20th March 2.30 – 4.30
Sean Hollywood Arts Centre
1a Bank Parade
BT35 6HP
Friday 20th March 2.30 – 4.30
Carlingford Heritage Centre
Church Road
Co Louth

Other information sessions may be arranged – check this web page for updates.

Completed application forms must be received at Loughs Agency headquarters by Wednesday 1st April 2015 to permit assessment. The Sustainable Development Fund may reopen again at a later date subject to budget availability and at the Agency’s absolute discretion.

The Loughs Agency is seeking applications under the following themes:
SDF EVENTS – Funding of up to £1,000 (or euro equivalent) at up to 75% support.
SDF CAPITAL AND DEVELOPMENT – Funding of up to £7,500 (or euro equivalent) at up to 75% support. Key themes for the capital and development programme include:
• River access measures
• Marine access measures
• Accommodation improvements that will benefit Marine Tourism/Angling
• New or improved marine/angling experiences
• Training and skills development
• Marketing and promotion activities
• Festival and events
• Innovative enhancement / restoration to improve fish stocks

For more information on assessment criteria and to download forms click here.

Lisneal College and Oakgrove Integrated College complete Environmental Life Project

25 March 2015
Pupils from Lisneal College and Oakgrove Integrated College recently canoed the full length of the River Foyle as part of the week long programme entitled ‘Environmental Life’. Pupils from year 10 classes participated in a range of activities during the programme including fishing, river litter collection and survey work. They also worked with local artist Angela McBride to illustrate the different species of wildlife they encountered and exhibited their artwork in school at a celebration events during this week.

Easter Extravaganza Event at Riverwatch

31 March 2015
To celebrate Easter and the return and rebirth of much of our wildlife during Spring, Riverwatch will be holding a springtime angling and environment event. This event will happen over the course of three days during Easter week and members of the public are very welcome to join us for a variety of themed activities over the course of the three days. Please note that the Riverwatch Aquarium is currently closed due to building works. However, we have some great family friendly activities running.

On Wednesday 8th April week we will be hosting arts and crafts workshops were visitors will be encouraged to create spring themed art using our aquariums, ponds, woodland area as well as the mighty Foyle as inspiration for their art. We’ll have an artist leading the workshops to help provide guidance toward producing beautiful art. There will also be a number nature trail and scavenger hunt activities to help find inspiration. We’ll be making magic wands, birds nests and learning about the fish, birds, insects and plant life found in the Foyle area. There will be River and Pond life on display and some of our marine creatures will be displayed in a small touch tank.

On Thursday 9th April we will be hosting an angling taster day were members of the public, young and not so young can learn how to fly cast, fly tie and to fish on our special angling pond. There will be opportunities to achieve CAST level one with fully qualified and highly experience angling instructors and learn the correct techniques for catch and release. There will also be bug workshops and dissection demonstrations were you can learn more about the importance of water quality and how the Loughs Agency protects Salmon, Sea Trout and Brown trout throughout the various stages of their life cycle.

On Friday 10th April we will be having a marine themed day were we will have our large trailer touch tank set up for guests to get a closer look at some of the species of crabs, starfish and fish that live in Lough Foyle and around our coast. We hope to improve your knowledge of the Ocean and Lough Foyle and give you a better understanding of the ecology of these beautiful places. There will be nature trails to participate in and marine litter and biodegradation workshops to learn more about what affects our wild rocky shores.

Event runs each day from 10am to 4pm. FREE Admission. First come first served.

Riverwatch is closed Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday.