Loughs Agency has today launched a new campaign appealing for anglers to embrace the practice of ‘catch and release’ to help sustain fish stocks in the Foyle and Carlingford areas.
The Agency welcomes the growing trend of ‘catch and release’ angling as a way of continuing to fish whilst limiting the impact on local stocks and has produced a video guide to help anglers with their catch and release technique in order to increase the survival rate of salmon after release.
John McCartney, Loughs Agency’s Director of Conservation and Protection, also explained the carcass tagging scheme which applies to salmon, brown trout and sea trout retained by recreational anglers, and highlighted the importance of returning any unused tags to the Agency.
Loughs Agency is aiming for a ‘catch and release’ rate of over 80% for salmon and sea trout caught during the new season which is now partially underway. It also wants to further reduce the number of anglers opting to take tags when purchasing a licence.
Mr McCartney stated: “Last year, 45% of anglers purchasing a licence opted not to take tags and there is a growing trend of anglers implementing the practice of catch and release. The Agency welcomes this approach to angling and would encourage all anglers to practice this method as a way of continuing to fish, whilst limiting the impact on local stocks.”
He explained: “Numbered tags are allocated to anglers who request them when they purchase their licence. The angler then records their retained catch and the corresponding carcass tag number when updating their catch return during the fishing season, returning any unused tags to Loughs Agency when their licence expires.”
“The catch return data from anglers is analysed throughout the season and used to make fishery management decisions to ensure the sustainability of species in Foyle and Carlingford.”
For the 2021 season Loughs Agency is issuing a maximum of 1 blue tag for the period 1st March to 31st May and/or a maximum of 2 black tags for the period 1st June to 31st October, depending on the type of licence purchased. Tackle shops have been instructed not to issue more than these maximum quantities for the 2021 season.
Loughs Agency’s video guide to good practice for anglers with their catch and release technique includes:
The season has already started on some still water fisheries with fishing on the rivers beginning to open up from 1st March. For further information on season dates, licence and permit requirements in the Foyle and Carlingford areas visit the angling section of the website.