Category Archives: News

First Class Fishing Facilities on the Finn

Today, on the opening day of the season on the River Finn, anglers gathered at Glenmore Lodge before casting their line.  During the closed season, Glenmore Fishery Manager Jarlath Winters has been busy working with Loughs Agency through their Sustainable Development Fund to develop the angling facilities at Glenmore Lodge.  Anglers now have access to a fishing hut complete with stove and drying room to dry out their wet gear (and themselves!) at the end of a day on the river. Other elements include a composting toilet, car park, rainwater harvesting system and improved signage.

Glenmore Lodge 5 web large

Lionel Knobbs, Angling Development Manager at Loughs Agency said ‘The Sustainable Development Fund project aims to enhance the experience of visitors, thus sustaining visitor numbers and prompting recommendations to others.  With these enhanced facilities, private beats on the River Finn and quality accommodation for visiting anglers, Glenmore is now a one-stop-shop.’

Glenmore Lodge 9

Glenmore Lodge 4

Jarlath Winters, Fishery Manager at Glenmore Lodge said ‘I would like to pass on a huge thank you to Loughs Agency and their Sustainable Development Fund project for providing funding that has seen the creation of premiere angling facilities at the lodge. Hopefully this project will help add to the enjoyment of people coming to Glenmore, helping sustain and encouraging the continued use of the river. The facilities at Glenmore are now amongst the best provided and exceed what anglers encounter across Ireland and many of Europe’s other top rivers.’ Anyone looking to fish at Glenmore contact Jarlath on 00353868133869.

Fly Fishing 1 web large

Suspension of Oyster Fishing in the Foyle Area


John Pollock, Chief Executive of the Loughs Agency, has signed a declaration to suspend native oyster fishing in the Foyle area for the expedient for the conservation and protection of shellfish.

The declaration states that fishing for native oysters is suspended for the entirety of the Foyle area from 1st March 2017 at 06:00 hrs to 31st March 2017 at 18:00hrs.

A survey and review of the Native Oyster population remaining in the Lough after the fishing period (October to December 2016) was undertaken in January / February 2017. After consideration of the results from this survey it has been decided that the fishery will be closed for the entirety of March 2017. This closure is to ensure the retention of the remaining stock on the beds in order to contribute to the adult broodstock and improve potential spawning and settlement in the 2017 season and beyond.

Removal of 100% of the stock above the minimum landing size is not sustainable. It is advisable to retain a proportion of the spawning stock above 80mm in the fishery in order to allow for stock replenishment and the achievement of effective spawning for the 2017 spawning season and beyond.

Stock assessments over the last number of years have shown a reduction in the frequency of young age classes of native oysters in the population with a shift towards the older demographics. This shift is as a result of poor settlement events in 2015 and 2016. Removal of further stock over 80 mm, from the fishery, this season, could exacerbate the situation by further reducing the density of reproductive adults potentially contributing to the population. Therefore, fishing activity in March 2017 could have a highly detrimental effect on future recruitment to the population.

A full copy of the declaration can be found here.

Loughs Agency delivers School Science Workshops for NI Science Fest

As part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival, Loughs Agency have been delivering workshops in local schools this week.  Pupils at Oakgrove Integrated College, St Joseph’s Boys School and Cumber Claudy Primary School have been introduced to some of the freshwater invertebrates that live in our rivers.  The education team brought the bugs to the classroom and the pupils have been learning about how the Loughs Agency uses water samples to determine the health of rivers.

Comber Claudy 2 press pic

Pupils at Comber Claudy Primary School

Oakgrove Integrated press pic

Pupils at Oakgrove Integrated College

St Jo's press pic

Pupils at St Joseph’s Boys School

For further information on our education programme, please ontact Michael Cosgrove on Tel: 02871 342100 or email

Loughs Agency introducing on-line rod licensing system

Loughs Agency Rod eLicence symbol

A new electronic on-line rod licensing system was launched today making it easier for the angler to purchase a licence.  Loughs Agency are pleased to announce that from now on angling licences for the Foyle and Carlingford areas will be issued electronically.

Loughs Agency Chief Executive, John Pollock said ‘since the 1950’s anglers have been purchasing their fishing licences for the season at Loughs Agency offices and through a network of distributors.  Whilst this service will continue to be provided through tackle shops, it will no longer be a paper process.  Licences can also be purchased on-line at home, which is great for overseas anglers who can buy before they travel’.

The new system will keep the Loughs Agency in line with the two other rod licensing bodies, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Inland Fisheries Group who have recently moved to an electronic system.  Angling Manager Lionel Knobbs said ‘globally, angling authorities are moving towards electronic systems.  We have looked at electronic licencing systems in England, America, Canada, New Zealand and developed an on-line platform that meets the needs of angler in the modern world.’

John McCartney, Director of Conservation and Protection said ‘This new system makes it easy for the angler to make their catch return.  Traditionally anglers would have to complete a table on the back of the licence, recording fishing effort and catches and these would then be manually entered on a database.  The new system enables the angler to record these easily throughout the season and ensures that the Agency gets the data we need to manage the fishery effectively in a consistent format. The new system also means that Loughs Agency protection staff can carry out licence checks more efficiently as they will have access to the secure database along the river bank.’

Oliver McGauley Ulster Coarse Fishing Federation said ‘I attended an excellent presentation promoting their new eLicencing system and in my opinion the system has a lot of benefits including the fact a licence and tags can be acquired without an angler leaving his home/place of business and catch returns can also be recorded on line’.

Ulster Angling Federation also support the new system saying ‘we believe the new eLicensing system will make it easier for many anglers to obtain a licence. In addition making an angling return has become simpler’.

The new system is now available for the public to access.  Click the logo below to enter the eLicence website.

Loughs Agency Rod eLicence symbol

For further information contact Loughs Agency on 02871 342100.


Bready Jubilee Primary School carry out habitat study on Burndennet River

Pupils from Mrs Corbett’s class at Bready Jubilee Primary School recently completed a habitat study on the Burndennet River.  The pupils investigated the invertebrate life, river bed, litter, land use and carried out weather observations.

The class were brilliantly behaved, they made a real effort to look out for one another throughout the study and managed to have a lot of fun whilst there.

Bready Jubilee Field Trip

Pic: Downholme Bridge outside Donemana

Kick start your career in the outdoors!

Kick start your career in the outdoors by becoming an Assistant Canoe Coach, an Assistant Angling Coach or gain a Level 1 Powerboat qualification.  In conjunction with Kick Start to Work and Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC), we are now recruiting over 18’s for the Maritime Ambassador Programme, starting in October. We are looking for participants with an interest in one or all of the following water sports: canoeing, powerboating and fishing.

The programme is open to 18 – 65 year olds who are unemployed and not in education or training and living in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.  The course is free and all equipment, food and transport is provided.  Successful participants will have an opportunity to gain the following qualifications:


RYA Power Boating Level 1.  This training takes approximately 1 – 2 days to complete and covers techniques for launch and recovery, boat handling and use of safety equipment.

MAP Group Canoe

Paddle Sport Coaching Certificate Level 1.  This training takes 12 days to complete, spread over a number of weeks.  During this course you will gain the British Canoe Union 1 star & 2 star, Foundation Safety Rescue Course and the Level 1 Paddle Sport Coaching Certificate  For further details on the Level 1 Certificate click here.


Assistant Angling Coach Level 1.  Over 5 days of training, learn to fish or refresh your knowledge through the CAST Awards and learn the fundamentals of coaching angling through a mixture of indoor and outdoor based learning.

Participants will also complete an employability course.

In order to apply please contact Rosemary McCloskey at the Loughs Agency 02871 342100 or email


Ministers Launch New WaterWatch App at NSMC Meeting

Ministers at a recent North South Ministerial Council meeting were pleased to launch the new WaterWatch app that will enable the public to report illegal fishing and water pollution within the Loughs Agency’s Foyle and Carlingford areas.

At the launch, Loughs Agency Chief Executive John Pollock said ‘by reporting incidents through the WaterWatch app the public can do their bit in protecting the nation’s fish stocks and habitat for future generations’.

WaterWatch was developed in conjunction with Inland Fisheries Ireland and is available for android and iPhones.  It allows the public to set the location, take photographs and report details of the incident (the app will include the GPS coordinates).

The app complements the Loughs Agency’s 24 hour telephone response line. However, using the app to report an incident ensures investigating officers have photographs and an accurate location of where the incident is occurring.  Once the report is submitted, Loughs Agency staff receive an instant notification, allowing them to investigate the incident.

The FREE app can be downloaded now from Google Play or the App Store.  Click here for more details.

NSMC WaterWatch Photo

(L-R) Chris Hazzard MLA, Minister for Infrastructure; Winston Patterson, Chairman, Loughs Agency Board; Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment; Michelle McIlveen MLA, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; John Pollock, Chief Executive, Loughs Agency; Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources at the WaterWatch App Launch.

2016 Halloween Programme Launched

As always at Riverwatch we have put together a cracking Halloween programme for 2016.  

Some events must be booked in advance using Eventbrite – see links below.  

Shark Night at Riverwatch Aquarium – SOLD OUT

Thursday 27th October: 7.00pm – 9.30pm

Riverwatch are kicking off the Halloween festivities with a night dedicated to an animal often included in nightmares and horror movies; the world’s most terrifying and infamous predator – the shark! But what do you really know about these amazing animals? Discover shark myths and shark facts (Do you know sharks have a sixth sense and that great whites can smell a drop of blood in 100 litres of water?), learn first-hand from shark experts including the Inishowen Basking Shark Group, take part in an Egg(case) hunt and shark games, and see a real shark (dogfish) up close in our Riverwatch touch tank! Fun for all the family!

Book your slot now through the Eventbrite website.

Shark Night

Friday 28th October – Monday 31st October – 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 weekend of fun from Friday 28th – Monday 31st of 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.

What Lurks Beneath! – 11:30 and 13:30 each day (28th – 31st)

Meet some of our local marine creatures during a live touch tank experience in the Riverwatch Aquarium.

Feeding time! – 15:00 each day (28th – 31st)

Join us at feeding time at the aquarium!

No booking required but for further information contact Rosemary McCloskey at the Loughs Agency 02871 342100.



Friday 28th October – W5 Science Magic Show  – SOLD OUT

An entertaining and very interactive 50-minute show which looks at the forces and chemical reactions behind magic tricks, including Newton’s Laws of Motion, acid-base reactions, and gyroscopic force. With a little scientific role play we’ll also discover (with the help of a chicken!) why the moon stays in the sky and then throw in some rocket science to boot!

  • Show 1 – 10.30 – 11.20
  • Show 2 – 11.30 – 12.20
  • Show 3 – 12.30 – 1.20
  • Show 4 – 2.30 – 3.20

Limited availability! Book your slot now through the Eventbrite Website 


Saturday 29th October – Mon 31st of October – Fishing Taster Sessions

Try a spot of fishing on the Loughs Agency Practice Ponds and see if you can catch your very own monster of a fish! Suitable for 8+ accompanied by an adult.

Available slots on the 29th, 30th and 31st of October are:

  • 11.00 – 11:30
  • 11:45 – 12:15
  • 12:45 – 13:15
  • 13:30 – 14:00
  • 14:15 – 14:45

Limited availability! Book your slot now through the Eventbrite website



Saturday 29th October – Barn Owl Prowl – SOLD OUT

Discover the rare Barn Owl and other birds of prey with Martin Maloney. Martin will be bringing a live Barn Owl so you can see one of these endangered species up close and how you can ‘be there for Barn Owl’s’  (Limited availability and booking essential).  Suitable for 6+ year olds.

  • Show 1 – 10.00 – 10.45
  • Show 2 – 11.00 – 11.45
  • Show 3 – 12.00 – 12.45
  • Show 4 – 1.30 – 14.15

Book your slot now through the Eventbrite website


Sunday 30th October – Gone Batty! 14.00 – 15:30pm – SOLD OUT

Discover and learn about bats with the Northern Ireland Bat Group and Creggan Country Park. Hear from a local bat expert, take part in a batty treasure hunt, make a batty disguise and if you are lucky meet a rescued bat!

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Book now through Eventbrite or for further information contact Rosemary McCloskey at the Loughs Agency 02871 342100.

Book your slot now through the Eventbrite website

Brown long-eared in tree knot (© Hugh Clark / Bat Conservation Trust)

Brown long-eared in tree knot (© Hugh Clark / Bat Conservation Trust)

Sunday 30th October – Spooky Halloween Bushcraft – SOLD OUT

Join us at the Riverwatch Aquarium on Halloween Eve to try some Halloween Bushcraft in our woodland area. Survive in the wilds by learning the basics of creating fire and shelter, cook up a Halloween treat and Leave No Trace!

  • Show 1 – 10:30
  • Show 2 – 12:00
  • Show 3 – 14:00
  • Show 4 – 15.00

Limited Availability! Book your slot now through the Eventbrite website

Halloween bushcraft


Monday 31st October – Halloween Scream! – SOLD OUT

Join us on Halloween day at Riverwatch dressed for the occasion! We’ll have lots of FREE activities including story-telling in our witches cabin to get you spooked out, arts and crafts and face painting so you can disguise yourself before the spooks come out! As well as all the fishy-fun in the aquarium with our touch tank (11.30 and 13.30) and feeding time (15.00) as well as a treasure hunt, spooky trails and wicked wildlife!

Spooky Storytelling in the witch’s cabin (Suitable for 6+ year olds). Slots available at 11.00am, 12.00pm and 13.00pm.

Book your slot now through the Eventbrite website or for further information contact or telephone 02871 342100.

Arts and Crafts (Suitable for 3+ year olds). 11.00am – 15.00pm. First come first served, limited availability.

Face painting (Suitable for 3+ year olds). 10.00 – 11.30am. First come first served, limited availability.

Halloween 2

FREE Angling Open Day on Newry Canal on Saturday 24th Sept

On Saturday, 24th September, Loughs Agency are hosting a FREE Angling Open Day on Newry Canal and at the WIN Business Park from 10am to 4pm.

Adults, juniors, experienced anglers and novices are welcome to come along and experience a range of different fishing techniques and get tips and hints across game, coarse and sea angling disciplines.

Delivered by qualified angling coaches and instructors there will be single and double handed fly casting tuition, fly tying, bait rigging as well as fishing and demonstrations on Newry Canal (adjacent to the WIN Business Park and within walking distance).


Fly Tyers Sam Andrews, Don McCloskey, Brendan Gormley and Ian Gamble will be providing instruction on fly tying techniques and tips to create your own fly from scratch. Gerard McAleer will be demonstrating casting and giving tips to help you master your cast. Eugene Andrews will help visitors learn different types of bait rigging and how to create your own rigs for sea fishing.

On the canal there will be plenty of opportunity for fishing practise under the guidance of coaches. Local coach Geoff Quinn said ‘there will be a coarse fishing workshops for younger anglers to learn and gain the CAST Award. Philip Jackson, two times world pairs champion angler will be at the event giving tuition and demonstrations.


John Pollock, CEO at Loughs Agency said ‘this event aims to encourage new and experienced anglers to learn or hone new skills in angling. It’s a great opportunity for youngsters to learn the basics of fishing and perhaps give them confidence to take it up as a hobby. Indeed, we’d like to encourage adults who would like to take up angling to come along too!’

If you would like further information  Everyone welcome to come along on the day at Newry Enterprise Centre, Win Business Park, Canal Quay, BT35 6PH.


Suspension of Oyster Fishing in the Foyle Area

I, John Pollock, Chief Executive of the Loughs Agency, Foyle Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission, hereby certify that The Commission is satisfied that it is necessary and expedient for the conservation and protection of native oysters (Ostrea edulis) to declare fishing for such oysters suspended in the entirety of The Foyle Area, as defined by The Foyle Area (Control of Oyster Fishing) Regulations 2008 as amended 2010, for the periods listed below.

“the defined mouth” in relation to the River Foyle, means the mouth of that river as defined by instrument dated 8th February 1864 made under section 17 of the Salmon Fishery (Ireland) Act 1863;

“Lough Foyle” means those waters in the Foyle Area bounded on the north or seaward side by an imaginary straight line drawn between Greencastle Fort in the County of Donegal and the Martello Tower at Magilligan Point in the County of Londonderry and bounded on the south by the defined mouth of the River Foyle;

“the River Foyle” means all of the River Foyle upstream of the defined mouth of the River Foyle;

“seaward of Lough Foyle” means those waters in the Foyle Area which lie seawards of an imaginary straight line drawn between Greencastle Fort in the County of Donegal and the Martello Tower at Magilligan Point in the County of Londonderry.

Dates of suspension of fishing in The Foyle Area

Fishing for native oysters (Ostrea edulis) is suspended in the entirety of The Foyle Area, as defined by The Foyle Area (Control of Oyster Fishing) Regulations 2008 as amended 2010, for the periods listed below;

  • 19th September 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 3rd October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 7th October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 10th October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 14th October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 17th October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 21st October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 24th October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 28th October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 31st October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 4th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 7th November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 11th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 14th November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 18th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 21st November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 25th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 28th November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 2nd December 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 5th December 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 9th December 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 12th December 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 16th December 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 28th February 2017 at 18:00 hrs

Reasons for suspension of fishing in The Foyle Area

Suspension of Opening

Poor recruitment of juveniles into the population in the summers of 2012 and 2013 resulted in reduced spawning potential for the subsequent seasons. The protection and retention of juvenile oysters is necessary in order to maintain future stocks.

The Foyle oyster population has generally ceased spawning late August however on occasion spawning is still occurring up to the end of September.  The period immediately post spawning is a sensitive time when oysters are reconditioning and may still be susceptible to mortality if disturbed.

Weekly monitoring of gonad maturation, brooding, density of larvae and water temperatures in 2016 has indicated that conditions are such that oysters are still spawning in early September. Therefore, the 2016/17 fishery opening has been suspended until 06:00 hours on 4th October 2016 in order to protect juvenile stages until such times as they are robust enough to withstand fishery related stress.

Reduction of Days per Week

In order to reduce the amount of stress being put upon the Native Oyster population in Lough Foyle, and in order to retain an acceptable biomass of spawning stock in the population, fishing effort has been reduced by suspending fishing for Native Oysters for the periods listed in this Declaration.

Fishing related stress levels in the oyster population in the Lough are directly linked to the fishing effort. Fishing related stress has been found to be highest during the first 8 weeks of the season.  This correlates with the landings data submitted to the Loughs Agency by licence holders which shows that, for the period 2012-15 around 80% of the total landings removed within the first 8 weeks of the fishery. The high fishing effort at the beginning of the season is likely to have an impact on the health of the oyster stocks particularly those individuals which are undersized and which are being caught and released.

The Foyle oysters are infected with a blood parasite called Bonamia ostreae which causes a disease called Bonamiosis.  This disease spreads when the cells of infected oyster rupture and infect nearby oysters which ingest the parasite.   It is thought that infection rates are increased during periods of high stress. Therefore a reduction in fishing effort may go some way to reducing the spread of Bonamiosis in the Native Oyster population in the Lough.

Closure January and February 2017

Removal of 100% of the stock above the minimum landing size is not sustainable. It is advisable to retain a proportion of the spawning stock above 80 mm in the fishery in order to allow for stock replenishment and the achievement of effective spawning for the 2017 spawning season. Removal of large proportion of stock over 80 mm from the fishery, this season, could have a significant negative impact on broodstock and could potentially have a highly detrimental effect on future recruitment to the population. The fishery will be closed January and February 2017 (in accordance with the dates listed in this declaration) in order to allow a survey and review of the Native Oyster population remaining in the Lough after the fishing period in accordance with the dates listed in this declaration.


In pursuance of the said Regulations



  • 19th September 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 3rd October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 7th October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 10th October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 14th October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 17th October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 21st October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 24th October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 28th October 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 31st October 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 4th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 7th November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 11th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 14th November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 18th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 21st November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 25th November 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 28th November 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 2nd December 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 5th December 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 9th December 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 12th December 2016 at 18:00 hrs
  • 16th December 2016 at 06:00 hrs to 28th February 2017 at 18:00 hrs


Dated:   5th September 2016


Loughs Agency Advising Farmers to be Vigilant

The moisture content of the current grass crop is very high and without suitable weather conditions to allow wilting of the crop when cut, will give rise to a higher than usual flow of effluent when ensiled.
The Loughs Agency would ask the farming community to take this into consideration when harvesting the crop and ensure that they have adequate storage for the increased flow of effluent.
The Loughs Agency would also appeal to the farming community to be extra vigilant and to check drains and sheughs/watercourses in the vicinity of silos to make sure that there are no underground leaks entering them.

Press Release – River Faughan Fish Kill

The Loughs Agency, in conjunction with NIEA, are currently carrying out an investigation into the recent fish kill on the River Faughan.

Loughs Agency and NIEA staff are assessing the situation to ascertain the cause of this event.

The Loughs Agency would like to remind any anglers or members of the public that any dead fish encountered should not be removed from the river.

Loughs Agency and NIEA staff have been gathering fish to be used as evidence in the investigation.

The cause of death for these fish is as yet unproven and in the interest of the evidence gathering process the Loughs Agency asks that dead fish are not removed from the water.

Anyone with information relating to the fish kill or location of dead fish, please contact the Loughs Agency at 028 7134 2100.

Loughs Agency would like to praise Faughan Anglers for their ongoing support during this investigation.

Loughs Agency encourages membership of local water based clubs and associations at Foyle Maritime Festival

Loughs Agency have been a key partner in the Foyle Maritime Festival and driver of the on the water activity taking place over the maritime event.  The programme included sailing, canoeing, curraghs, rowing, angling, river tours to mention a few.   The Agency have engaged with local clubs and associations to put on a programme of activity that ensures the visitors and locals have the opportunity to access and experience the Foyle from a different perspective, or for the first time!

John Pollock, Chief Executive at Loughs Agency said ‘we want to showcase the recreation potential of the River Foyle at this international event.  We wanted to signpost to the public the existing clubs and associations such as Foyle Sailability, Foyle Paddlers, City of Derry Boating Club, Moville Boat Club, Lough Foyle Yacht Club who are eager to welcome new members.   Through the services of these clubs, supported by the Loughs Agency, over 1,000 taster sessions have been delivered during the festival and we hope that it has inspired people to consider taking up a new water based sport or hobby’.

Kevin Wilson, Director of Development said ‘sailing, rowing, canoeing and other water based sports and activities can provide an opportunity to relax, exercise or even take it to a competitive level.  These clubs and associations, based on our own doorstep, have a great social aspect to them as well and I’d encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch with them directly or Loughs Agency to find out more.’

The Foyle Maritime Festival has been a wonderful opportunity demonstrate the capacity that the Foyle has to organise and host maritime events on an international scale.  The events were brought to life by the vibrant and energetic people of the City and surrounding areas and the Loughs Agency would like to thanks everyone involved, particularly those at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Foyle Port and Clipper, not to mention all the volunteers including our own Foyle Ambassadors who helped make the event such as great success.




Competitive rowing – City of Derry Boat Club CODBC (sculls – singles, pairs, quads, 8s)

Recreational rowing – CODBC hoping to start this

Rowing on Lough Foyle – Foyle Rowing Club (aka Moville Rowing Club) based at Moville Harbour

Currach rowing – Causeway Coast Maritime Heritage Group



Dinghy sailing – Lough Foyle Yacht Club at Culmore Point, Inish Adventures

Yacht sailing – Moville Boat Club at Moville / Greencastle



Canoeing / kayaking – Foyle Paddlers Club, Three Rivers (Strabane), various activity providers (NW Adventure, Far and Wild, Inish Adventures, Carrowmena)



Inish Adventures



Longline Surf School at Benone Beach

Inish Adventures at Moville



Longline Surf School at Benone Beach


Culinary countdown begins for Clipper Race Kitchens

Foodies will have tasted the best of continental cuisine at the Foyle Maritime Festival which is currently in full swing in Derry and, the culinary countdown is now underway for the Clipper Race Kitchens celebrating our best local produce which opens on Thursday, July 14th until Friday, July 17th, at Ebrington Square.

Internationally renowned French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will join NI culinary maestros Jenny Bristow, Paula McIntyre, Noel McMeel, Brian McDermott and Ian Orr, for the gastronomic gala as part of the wider Foyle Maritime Festival hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Clipper Race Kitchens, which is expected to be one of the highlight events of Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016, will feature popular local restaurants cooking signature dishes to try and buy from around £5, live cookery demos and sampling in the huge Clipper Race Kitchen marquee, which will also incorporate an impressive Flavours of the Foyle showcase.

Other elements of the four-day extravaganza include the Clipper Race Food Pavilion marquee showcasing top local artisan food producers, and the Clipper Race Village will be the ‘go to’ destination for the finest locally sourced street food.

Clipper Race Kitchens is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs NI Agri Food Programme, Tourism NI and Loughs Agency through the Sustainable Development Fund.

John Pollock (CEO Loughs Agency) relayed how keen the Agency was to be involved with Clipper Kitchens. This affords an opportunity to promote local produce, including seafood such as Lough Foyle mussels and oysters. In addition to this involvement, the Loughs Agency has worked with water based recreation clubs and providers to ensure animation on the river throughout the maritime festival. The festival is a unique opportunity to showcase the potential of the Foyle (both river and lough) for tourism and other economic development.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Hilary McClintock, is impressed by the stellar line-up of award-winning visiting and local chefs who are all household names.  Special guest chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be cooking at Clipper Race Kitchens from 1.30pm-5pm on Friday, July 15th, while a host of local celebrity chefs and award-winning restaurant talent have demo slots throughout the four-day event.  Admission is free.

Mary Blake, Council’s Tourism Development Officer, said Clipper Race Kitchens would build on the success of the three-day LegenDerry Food Festival which attracted 38,000 visitors to the city in March this year, and its very worthy place as runner-up in the Foodie Towns Ireland competition last year.

She continued: “Clipper Race Kitchens will celebrate everything that is superb about our local food offer. Having tasted the best of continental, festival-goers are also invited to taste the best of what is grown here not flown here, cured and matured here, and through the Flavours of the Foyle showcase, the best of what is caught here, hook line and sinker!”

Michele Shirlow, Board member with Tourism NI and CEO of Food NI, said they were delighted to be supporting Clipper Race Kitchens, showcasing LegenDerry food and produce from across the region during NI Year of Food and Drink.

“This is an excellent platform to profile the city as a leading food destination with international appeal, particularly following the city’s success last year in the Foodie Towns competition.

“Food NI are all about showcasing the finest food and drink from Northern Ireland. With over 350 members from across the food and drink industry, we promote the people who produce it, rear it, make, catch and cook it, and those who distribute it to shops and catering outlets. We believe we have world class ingredients and chefs and we work tirelessly to get that message out near and far.

“Collectively, we are telling people here and abroad about the products and enterprising and creative people behind them and encouraging consumers to opt for local food and drink because it is of the highest quality.”

Chefs taking part in the Clipper Race Kitchens include: – Thursday, July 14th, 1-2pm Jenny Bristow, 2-3pm Paula McIntyre, 3-4pm Jenny Bristow, 4-5pm Pier 59;  Friday, July 15th, 12.30-1.30pm The Everglades Hotel – Colman O’Driscoll, 1.30-5pm Jean-Christophe Novelli; Saturday, July 16th, 1-2pm Harry’s – Derek Creagh, 2-3pm The Sooty Olive – Johnny Heaney, 3-4pm Brown’s restaurant- Ian Orr; 4-5pm The No Salt Chef – Brian McDermott; Sunday,  July 17th, 1-2pm White Horse Hotel- Noel Ward, 2-3pm The Lough Erne Resort- Noel McMeel, 3-4pm Feast or Famine- Emmett McCourt, 4-5pm The Lough Erne Resort- Noel McMeel.

The family-friendly Clipper Race Kitchens event, which opens at 12 noon daily from July 14th -17th, will also have a kids zone with arts and crafts, water boats, jungle playground, and chairoplanes in Ebrington Square.  For more details,

Free Sailing Sessions for Schools in the Carlingford Lough Catchment

The Loughs Agency has partnered with Carlingford Sail Training Centre to offer Sailing Tasters Sessions at the sailing club in Carlingford, County Louth.

The Loughs Agency aim is to offer an introduction to sailing to young people who may not, otherwise, experience this exhilarating sport.

This opportunity is being offered to post primary schools / colleges within the catchment of Carlingford Lough (and those drawing a sizable number of pupils from that area) as per the map below.

Carlingfordcatchment web small

Map of Carlingford Catchment

All clothing and equipment is provided – just bring a change of clothes, food and liquids! Schools are responsible for transport and their normal parental/guardian consent procedures.

Qualified instructors will lead the sailing sessions.

The taster sessions are offered in the morning and afternoons, as below. Each session will accommodate one class (approximately 24 pupils).

DATE (September) SESSION
MON 12th Morning (09:15-12:15)
Afternoon (12:45-15:45)
WED 14th Morning (09:15-12:15)
Afternoon (12:45-15:45)
THURS 15th Morning (09:15-12:15)
Afternoon (12:45-15:45)
FRI 16th Morning (09:15-12:15)
Afternoon (12:45-15:45)


To apply, please complete the form and email to

There will be an element of ‘first come / first served’, so schools are encouraged to apply as early as possible.


Foyle Maritime Festival – FREE River Safari’s

Bring your binoculars for a safari on the River Foyle in 12 seater canoes.  Paddling either the upper, middle and lower stretches of the river you will see and learn more about the local wildlife that depend on the river for food and shelter.

Click here to book


  • Suitable for adults and over 6 year olds who are water confident.
  • Children must be accompanied.
  • No previous experience required.
  • All safety equipment provided and must be worn.
  • Limited availability.
  • FREE
  • If you require further information contact:

Sailing Competition: Win a place on a 1 day or 5 day sail!

As part of the Foyle Maritime Festival programme Loughs Agency are running 2 exciting competitions for young people to sail the seas!

To enter, simply nominate someone you think would enjoy being a crew member on the beautiful Spirit of the Oysterhaven. Or why not nominate yourself?


1 Day Sail Competition

Join the Spirit of Oysterhaven for a sail from Greencastle on the 16th of July. We have 10 spaces available for 14-17 year olds from the Foyle Area for a truly unique experience! Click here for the nomination form and return to by noon on the 24th of June.

5 day sail competition

Loughs Agency are also looking for applications for our free 5 day sail competition on board the Spirit of Oysterhaven departing from Derry ~Londonderry on the 17th of July with the Clipper parade of sail and travelling to Warrenpoint. We have 10 spaces available for 15-17 year olds from the Foyle/Carlingford areas to part in this fantastic adventure! The voyages are run by Atlantic Youth Trust and subsidised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation Fund, and aim to bring young people together from different communities around the island of Ireland to experience the adventure of sailing. Click here for the nomination form and return to by noon on the 24th of June.

To find out more about the Oyster Haven visit the ships website.

Good luck!

School pupils reel in take home the prizes at the North West Angling Fair

Loughs Agency piloted their first River Day Camps with school groups from St Mary’s Primary School Strabane and Sion Mills Primary School, as part of the educational programme of the North West Angling Fair. School groups came to Loughs Agency to try a spot of fishing, hunt for invertebrates and create a piece of artwork inspired by a healthy river habitat

river camp champs

1st Place: St Mary’s Primary School

The 1st place prize in the artwork competition was won by pupil in St Mary’s Primary School and the winner was presented with an engraved trophy; 2nd place was won by a pupil in Sion Mills Primary who received a fly box filled with flies tied at the angling fair.

River Camp

Runner up school:  Sion Mills Primary School

All the pupils in both classes received their CAST Starter Award and won free entry to the fishing competition in Moorlough on the 2nd of July (part of Loughs Fest).

Rosemary McCloskey, Community Engagement Officer at Loughs Agency said “Fishing is a very popular sport in Strabane so it was no surprise that the majority of pupils in these classes had already fished before. It was great to hear how knowledgeable some of the young people already were, as well as being able to inspire some of the new-comers to the sport. We had a few going away saying they would be getting their own rods which is fantastic!”


The Ark Officially Opens


As the summer season approaches, The Ark, a new purpose built beach facility at Benone Strand has been officially opened.  Funded through the European INTERREG IVA Programme, The Ark provides a welcome improvement to visitor facilities at one of the country’s most popular beaches.  The project has been delivered as part of Loughs Agency’s Marine Tourism and Angling Development project in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

Located at the beach entrance The Ark provides new toilet, shower and changing facilities which reflect public expectation when visiting the coast.  The new facility has been developed with a strong emphasis on sustainability given its location within Magilligan Special Area of Conservation.

Speaking at the opening of The Ark, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan said, “I’m delighted to see the development of The Ark at Benone Strand.  These new facilities reflect how the expectation of visitors has changed with regard to our celebrated beaches. “I hope that this new facility will further promote the area as a year round outdoor playground.  Council is indebted to the Special EU Programmes Body for providing the necessary funding and to Loughs Agency for facilitating the development through its Marine Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.”

Designed by Hall Black Douglas Architects and constructed by OB Construction, The Ark has received a nomination in the 2016 Royal Society of Ulster Architects awards.

Native Oyster Fishery Licences

Interested parties are invited to apply for a licence to fish the 2016/2017 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 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 Friday 29th July 2016.

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

Recruiting for next Foyle Ambassador Project starting May 2016

We are now seeking the next cohort of The Foyle Ambassadors. This Programme is aimed at 14-17 year olds from the Derry~Londonderry area who are interested in the natural environment. The programme will run for 10 weeks starting 18th May through to July.

On Wednesday evenings the Ambassadors meet at Loughs Agency HQ in Prehen to undertake personal development activities such as confidence building, citizenship, team work and leadership. Then on Saturdays, we meet again to undertake activities that will increase your knowledge of local habitats and species, as well as carrying out activities to improve these habitats e.g. litter picks and planting. You will explore and discover local habitats and wild places through activities such as canoeing, boating, surfing, fishing, and lots more!

The common theme of the project is the River and the purpose of the programme is to get young people connected with the River Foyle, its tributaries, estuary, coast, its wildlife and the recreational opportunities it holds. The hope is that participants on the programme will develop a new and positive understanding of the river and its resources.

The programme is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and coordinated by the Loughs Agency in partnership with the Education Authority Youth Service.

In order to apply please download this form and return to Applicants will be invited at allocated times to meet with the team leaders for an informal chat before being accepted on the programme. If oversubscribed, short-listing will be carried out as there are only 16 places available.

Closing date for expressions of interest is 4.00pm on Friday the 6th of May 2016.

Watch our video from the last project!


Education Authority Logo with Translations  heritage lottery logo

Are you interested in a career in water sports?

Are you interested in a career in water sports? In conjunction with Kick Start to Work and Derry City and Strabane District Council, we are now recruiting over 18’s for the Maritime Ambassador Scheme, a 7 week skills programme starting in April. The programme is open to 18 – 65 year olds who are unemployed and not in education or training and living in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area. Participants will undertake training in canoeing, powerboating and fishing.

Successful participants can gain the following qualifications:

RYA Power Boating Level 1
British Canoe Union 1 star
British Canoe Union 2 Star
Foundation Safety Rescue Course
Level 1 Paddle Sport Coaching Certificate
CAST Level 1, 2 and 3 in Angling
Level 1 Angling Coaching Certificate
Participants will also complete an employability course.

In order to apply please contact or for further information contact Geraldine O’Heara, Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) on 02871 308 466.

361 Illegal nets destroyed at Loughs Agency

361 Illegal nets destroyed at Loughs Agency – Loughs Agency

Today at Loughs Agency, Fishery Officers have been disposing of 361 nets which have been seized since 2012.  These nets would have been used to catch Salmon, Trout and other fish illegally.

A disposal order, granted by the courts, has been issued to destroy them.  The nets are singed to render them useless before being removed by a local recycling company.


John McCartney, Director of Conservation and Protection said ‘it is positive that these nets have been seized and destroyed by Agency staff who often face difficult and challenging situations when carrying out this work’.

Fishing for Salmon or Trout using nets in the Foyle and Carlingford catchments is illegal.  Anyone caught fishing illegally by Loughs Agency will be prosecuted through the courts.

Loughs Agency proud to be a John Muir provider

John Muir Group web large_1

On Saturday 5th March, those interested in outdoor learning gathered at Loughs Agency to undertake training from the John Muir Trust.  The John Muir Award is an national environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It helps people connect with nature, and enjoy and care for wild places. It is for people of all ages and backgrounds – groups, families and individuals.

The one-day course delivered by Toby Clarke from the John Muir Trust gave an introduction to the relevant skills, knowledge and approaches needed for delivering the John Muir Award for a variety of different groups including junior rangers/ambassadors, health groups, youth groups and schools. The Loughs Agency was presented with a certificate in recognition of becoming a provider of the John Muir Award.

Toby said “It’s great that the Loughs Agency use the John Muir Award to help promote recreational, social and environmental benefits of the Foyle. It’s a good opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Foyle Ambassadors, and giving participants the chance to make a difference to wild places. We [John Muir Trust] are limited as to how we can support activity in Northern Ireland, and we’re seeking educational and environmental strategic partners to help. So partnerships with organisations such as the Loughs Agency really help – we’re delighted.”

Rosemary McCloskey, Community Engagement Officer at Loughs Agency said ‘The Leadership training brought together a range of individuals including partners we are working with to deliver our youth programmes, and organisations exploring the merit of the John Muir award for their own programmes. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas, explore new methods and learn about best practice examples of the award being used”.

For more information on the John Muir Award visit or contact Rosemary McCloskey for information on John Muir programmes delivered through Loughs Agency.

Managed Access at the Gribben Quay

The Gribben quay has been restored and a slipway built and there is now managed access to the site, permitting appropriate usage of the river. The aspiration is that the river realises its potential for the sustainable development of nature based tourism, including angling and bird watching. The River Foyle was once a valuable commercial salmon fishery. A relic of those times is the Gribben, a stone quay where fish were once landed and an ice house that held stores of ice for packing fish, in readiness for transport to distant markets. Grib 1 - BOAT AT QUAY

Location: Cloghboy, Bready,County Tyrone BT82 0DP

Grid ref: C356081

Main Features: Stone quay, slipway, managed access, disabled parking, toilets. Please download this form, complete and submit hard copy to the Loughs Agency.

Suspension of netting in the Foyle & restriction to angling in the River Finn

I, John Pollock, Chief Executive of the Loughs Agency, Foyle Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission, hereby certify that The Commission is satisfied that the number of salmon which have migrated upstream of the River Finn Fish Counter during each of the previous five years has not exceeded 5,410, stipulated by the Foyle Area (Control of Fishing) Regulations 2010. SUSPENSION OF NETTING IN THE RIVER FOYLE, LOUGH FOYLE AND SEAWARD OF LOUGH FOYLE AND RESTRICTION TO ANGLING IN THE RIVER FINN ON CATCH AND RELEASE BASIS ONLY NOW THEREFORE In pursuance of Article 3 of the Foyle Area (Control of Fishing) Regulations 2010 and Section 13(1) of the Foyle Fisheries Act 1952 and Section 13 (1) of the Foyle Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1952. I HEREBY SUSPEND NETTING IN THE RIVER FOYLE, LOUGH FOYLE AND SEAWARD OF LOUGH FOYLE, AND RESTRICT ANGLING IN THE RIVER FINN TO ANGLING ON A CATCH AND RELEASE BASIS ONLY, FROM:

DATE: 25th February 2016       TIME: 12 Midday


DATE: 15th September 2016     TIME: 12 Midnight

Dated:  25th February 2016 JOHN POLLOCK (Chief Executive)  

Bass Fishing

Many of the Loughs Agency’s staff have been approached in relation to issues regarding the legality or otherwise of bass fishing.  The European rule in the recent Agricultural Fisheries Council Agreement on Regulation 559, identified the latest scientific advice that stock levels are unacceptably low, with action at EU level being needed to reverse the decline. Since then, management measures have been taken by the Agricultural Fisheries Council and by the European Commission in its own right, including an emergency closure of the mid-water trawl fishery, a daily limit on the (bag) take by recreational fishermen, and monthly catch limits by commercial vessels. The European Commission is now proposing more stringent bag and monthly catch limits in the second half of 2016, preceded by a complete ban on all commercial and recreational bass fishing in the first half of the year. The implementation of this regulation will require new legislation in the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.  In the interim period, pending legislation, Loughs Agency is requesting anglers to recognise the need for conservation and to fish according to the regulations that are expected to be introduced in the near future.  Loughs Agency would encourage to catch and release fishing for bass to help improve bass stocks. Returning a Sea bass web The Loughs Agency regulation has already been through public consultation and will, if finally approved:
  • Introduce a bag limit of 2 Bass over a 24-hour period.
  • Introduce a close fishing season of 15 May to 15 June each
  • Prohibit the sale of Bass caught by rod and line.
  • Prohibit the taking of undersized Bass i.e. of less than 40 cm length.
  • Prohibit fishing for Bass by any means other than rod and line.
However in light of the EU ruling the Loughs Agency proposal may have to be reviewed.  For further information on this please contact

Foyle Ambassadors Graduate

21 Foyle Ambassadors from Derry~Londonderry and Donegal graduated on Thursday evening last week at the City Hotel.  The young people have recently completed a 10 week programme funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Loughs Agency, co-ordinated through Co-operation Ireland. In the presence of their friends, family and invited guests, the Foyle Ambassadors were called to the stage to collect their certificates, receiving accreditation for angling, powerboating, canoeing and the prestigious John Muir Discovery Award. Speaking at the graduation, Peter Sheridan, CEO at Co-Operation Ireland said “This is the second year of the very successful Foyle Ambassadors programme working in partnership with the Loughs Agency and the local community to deliver a personal development and good relations programme.  This year we were delighted to add the cross-border element with participants from here in the city and Donegal.  Mr Sheridan continued ‘as a result of the programme, these young people have gained a better understanding of the river as a community resource that belongs to us all, a shared space, a dynamic uniting force that flows through the city.  Strong and powerful as it is, it is also vulnerable and requires attention.  Hopefully it can become a symbol of the strong bonds the young participants of this programme have developed”. Graduation Small Group Pic large   Foyle Ambassadors with John Pollock (CEO Loughs Agency), Alison Moore (DFA) and Peter Sheridan (CEO Co-Operation Ireland) Kevin Wilson, Director of Development at Loughs Agency said “the Foyle Ambassadors programme has been a fantastic success and the feedback we have received from participants, parents and our activity providers has been overwhelmingly positive.  The Ambassadors have really engaged and enjoyed taking part in the programme”. The programme aimed to raise awareness of the natural resources and biodiversity of the River Foyle, its tributaries, estuary and the local coast.  Through a range of activities including canoeing, surfing, angling, boating, clean ups, surveys and other conservation projects the young people have a new positive connection with the river. Speaking after the event Community Engagement Officer, Rosemary McCloskey said “the Ambassadors are a bit sad that the programme has come to end but it’s really just the beginning.  We’ll be launching a volunteer programme soon and many of these young people are very keen to get involved to pass on the knowledge they have gained as a result of the programme”. Daniel McGlinchey large Daniel McGlinchey receiving his award for Foyle Ambassador of the Year 2015 The next Foyle Ambassador project will begin in the spring through funding received from the National Lottery Young Roots programme.  For more information, contact

MMV Ostrea – Statements from Loughs Agency and Minister Durkan

Statement from Loughs Agency – Barry Fox, Director of Aquaculture “Loughs Agency would like to thank DOE, NIEA and Foyle Port for their assistance in the recovery of the MMV Ostrea. An investigation will now begin in to the cause of the vessel sinking” Statement from Environment Minister Mark H Durkan “This is great news that the MMV Ostrea has been successfully salvaged from the River Foyle. I congratulate all involved in this complex operation. This was a very difficult task given the size of the boat. It was a dangerous operation for all of the Agencies involved. We owe a deep gratitude to those prepared to go into the murky depths on our behalf. Indeed there was tremendous teamwork from a number of different agencies, who assisted in bringing about an effective salvage operation while preventing the escape of harmful fuel oil into the Foyle.  It was unfortunate that the boat sank in the first place. It is fortunate that we are blessed with the expertise to deliver a successful salvage” ENDS Further press enquiries to Loughs Agency please email:

Maritime Ambassadors Graduate

A group of Maritime Ambassadors gathered at the Guildhall recently to graduate from the KickStart to Work programme.  Nearly 20 individuals collected certificates for canoeing, angling and powerboating as well as coaching qualifications.  The Maritime Ambassador programme is organised by Loughs Agency and Derry City and Strabane District Council. Speaking about the course Maritime Ambassador Terrence Kelly said ‘the highlight for me was the coaching.  Also the journeys we took paddling along the beautiful Inishowen coastline and fishing from the canoes’.   Terrence would encourage others to join the programme which runs three times a year.  ‘It’s a great opportunity.  I’d do it again tomorrow if I could.  It’s good craic and I’m hoping the assistant coaching qualification will open up new employment opportunities for me!  You get well looked after and plenty of support’ said Terrence. The graduates were presented with their certificates by the trainers who coached them over the 7 week programme namely Inish Adventures, Ocean Youth Trust and Irish Angling Development Alliance. Another Maritime Ambassador, Strabane man Joe Barr said ‘the highlight of the course for me was the canoeing.  I remember being nervous about capsizing the canoe as I wouldn’t be overly confident in the water.  But I did it and as a result of the programme I now have confidence in the water’.  As well as gaining qualifications Joe said ‘he has made new friendships with the other participants on the course as well as making contacts with people which could lead to future employment opportunities’. Community Engagement Officer Rosemary McCloskey at Loughs Agency said, ‘this programme aims to develop the skills, knowledge and qualifications of local people to become Maritime Ambassadors.  The hope is that they will use the experience to pursue employment or volunteer opportunities linked to their new qualifications.  The Foyle, its tributaries, estuary and the local coast are a great resource and provide a stunning landscape for new businesses and recreational hobbies to blossom.’ The next course will start in April 2016 and is free of charge to anyone unemployed and living within the Derry and Strabane District Council area.  If you are interested and would like to register please contact either Rosemary McCloskey at Loughs Agency, 02871 342100 or Geraldine O’hEara at Derry City and Strabane District Council, 02871 308466. Maritime Ambassador Graduation Group Pic Web large Caption:  Recent Graduates of the Maritime Ambassador Programme organised by Loughs Agency and Derry City and Strabane District Council   Mrs Gent and Mayor Mr Sean O Heliphe, receiving the Philip Gent Memorial Cup from Mrs Marion Gent along with Philip’s extended family at the recent Maritime Ambassador graduation organised by Loughs Agency and Derry City and Strabane District Council’s KickStart to Work programme.  Sean completed his canoeing, angling and powerboating qualifications with Philip earlier in the year before Philip’s untimely death in October 2015.

New Publication: Marine Tourism and Angling Development Facilities

The Loughs Agency secured €4m of funding from the European Union INTERREG IVA programme and, between 2011 and 2015, implemented the Marine Tourism and Angling Development project. The overall aim of this programme was to develop and promote marine tourism, water based leisure activity, angling tourism and recreational angling in the Foyle and Carlingford areas. The Loughs Agency aim was to:
  • Develop boating access infrastructure
  • Provide facilities for visitors
  • Sensitively deliver environmental education and interpretation
  • Raise visitor awareness of the marine environment
  • Enhance habitat and develop angling infrastructure
  • Develop e-commerce based licensing for the angling sector
This booklet provides a summary of the individual projects within this Marine Tourism and Angling Development Project. The Loughs Agency would like to thank each of the project partners that helped deliver this successful project: Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Derry City and Strabane District Council Donegal County Council Foyle Port Inland Fisheries Ireland Louth County Council Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Rivers Agency To download a copy of the booklet click the image below. Marine Tourism and Angling Dev thumnail

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!
TimeLecture RoomPondLawnReception
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 Information sessions will be held in the following venues:
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.
DATES AND DEADLINES 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.
THEMES 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.