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Loughs Agency call on Anglers to help conserve the iconic Atlantic Salmon

Loughs Agency call on Anglers to help conserve the iconic Atlantic Salmon

Date: 18/08/2020

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 amount of eggs to produce one adult (compared to 1990’s) that will return to that same river to spawn – an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle’.

This decline is reflected in our local rivers and we are calling on anglers to take immediate steps to ensure sustainability of the fisheries of Foyle and Carlingford.  It is imperative that we all take a forward thinking approach based on the latest scientific guidance that balances responsible angling and sustainability.

There are various pressure points, many of which are combined or interconnected during the life cycle of salmonids, with the actions of mankind very much a common thread.  Therefore, Loughs Agency is asking anglers to play their part in conserving and protecting these important fish. Anglers are encouraged to:

  • Update their catch return and fishing effort regularly and throughout the season on the elicence website.  This data is used to help Loughs Agency manage the fishery using real-time data. Last year only 7.5% of anglers made a return.
  • Keep the 24hr Loughs Agency Response Line telephone number +(0)44 2871 342100 as a contact on their phone and report any concerns directly and promptly. Loughs Agency relies on reports of illegal fishing and pollution from the public.
  • Practice catch and release.  Many anglers already do this, with around 42% of anglers not taking carcass tags when they purchase their licence.
  • Implement biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals.
  • Reduce the number of fish taken from the system by complying with the reduction in carcass tags.  For the 2020 season Loughs Agency are issuing a maximum of 1 blue tag (1st March to 31st May) and 2 black tags (1st June to 31st October). Tackle shops have been instructed not to issue more than these maximum quantities for the 2020 season.

Loughs Agency, as the fishery authority for Foyle and Carlingford also plays an increasingly important role as a steward of key cross border natural resources.  The Agency is currently commencing reviews to ensure that priorities for operational activities are evidence-informed, particularly in relation to scientific evidence gathered by the Agency regarding conservation and protection.  The reviews are as follows:

  • Review of Legislation;
  • Review of Science;
  • Review of Angling and Fisheries Development;
  • Review of Marine Tourism; and
  • Review of Corporate Communications.

Loughs Agency advise that the Review of Angling and Fisheries Development and the Review of Legislation have both commenced. The Agency wants to ensure that all sections of the angling community and associated industry’s voice are heard. Within the context of long term sustainability and good governance, the Agency will be seeking the views of and input from angling stakeholders on a number of key areas, such as conservation, real-time fisheries management, development of angling and legislation and ask that when the consultation process begins anglers engage and respond.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

21 April 1926 to 8 September 2022