Loughs Agency, like its stakeholders, is concerned about the populations and interactions between cormorant populations and populations of Atlantic salmon, and in particular, the impact of cormorant predation on juvenile salmon during the annual smolt migration.
Cormorants are one of many predators on juvenile salmon populations. However, one of the fundamental differences between cormorants and some other predators is that cormorants are a protected species under the relevant section of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. Specific protections are detailed under Article 4.
Given the legal protection of these birds, the management and population surveys are the responsibility of the Wildlife Section of the Biodiversity and Conservation Science Unit, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and their counterparts in National Parks and Wildlife in Ireland.
Angling clubs and fishery managers in Northern Ireland should be aware of the process to apply for the appropriate licence to assist in managing these birds and other actions, including scaring the birds to move them on, after agreement with Wildlife Officers from NIEA.
NIEA advises that under article 18 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, an application can only be legally processed if it can be shown that:
Click this link to download a PDF of the NIEA application guidelines.