Loughs Agency reminds anglers of the annual close season, which prohibits fishing over the winter months to help protect salmon and sea trout from disturbance when spawning.
The Foyle Area and Carlingford Area (Close Seasons for Angling) Regulations prohibit fishing for salmon and sea trout over the winter, with fishing due to resume in early 2022.
The annual close season for salmon and sea trout begins on 21st October in the Foyle catchment and on 1st November in the Carlingford catchment.
As closing dates vary slightly across the catchments Loughs Agency encourages anglers to check season dates for each river on the Loughs Agency website and social media platforms, as well as with fishery owners to ensure they are up to date on local restrictions.
The State of the Salmon report published recently by the international lead on salmon management, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), highlights the worrying and continuous decline in the populations of the Atlantic salmon. NASCO states 'it now takes about double the number of eggs to produce one adult (compared to 1990s) that will return to that same river to spawn – an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle'.
Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency CEO said: "The annual close season is an important time of year. Reducing disturbances on fish when they are spawning and at their most vulnerable helps protect stocks for the future. We recognise that angling is not the sole cause of stock decline, but by observing the close season, anglers are 'playing their part' in boosting the long-term resilience and sustainability of iconic fish species."
John McCartney, Director of Conservation and Protection at Loughs Agency, said: "We all must take a forward-thinking approach based on the latest scientific guidance that balances responsible angling and sustainability."
As the game fishing season ends for 2021, anglers are reminded to update their catch return and fishing effort on the Loughs Agency elicence website. Anglers who wish to fish during the winter months are permitted to catch coarse fish such as perch, roach, and bream, for which a valid coarse fishing licence is required.
During the close season, Loughs Agency Fishery Officers patrol riverbanks to prevent illegal fishing and protect fisheries. Anglers found fishing out of season will be prosecuted through the courts. Loughs Agency encourages members of the public to make direct and prompt illegal fishing reports either through the 24hr response line +(0)44 28 7134 2100 or through the WaterWatch reporting tool on the Loughs Agency website.