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Fishery Protection

Loughs Agency has seized more than 2,250 items of illegal fishing material since 2010 and the haul continues to grow. This highlights the exemplary work of our field staff in tackling illegal fishing in the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

As a result of this enforcement action, we have instigated a significant number of prosecutions in courts in both jurisdictions. Loughs Agency also practises ‘domiciliary prosecution’, which means offenders can be prosecuted in the country where they live as opposed to where the offence has taken place. This aspect of Loughs Agency legislation provides us with a unique mechanism for ensuring that fisheries law is enforced effectively in cross-border areas.

Loughs Agency has brought prosecutions for a wide variety of offences, including illegal netting, illegal angling, pollution, unauthorised in-river works, works which affect fish habitat and the illegal taking of oysters.

The Agency also carries out protection work by checking angling licences. For example, our Fishery Officers conducted more than 1,200 licence checks during the 2017 angling season. Also that year, 242 pollution visits and 283 site visits were made. Further checks were also carried out in partnership with both NIEA and Donegal County Council.

Lough Agency’s Fishery Inspectors and Officers carry out the fishery protection responsibilities in Foyle and Carlingford. They cover a geographical area of 4,070km2in the Foyle area and 480km2in Carlingford. The territory includes the two sea loughs and an area extending 12 miles out to sea off Lough Foyle. The Agency also reacts to reports of illegal fishing and pollution from the public.


Loughs Agency staff engage with a wide range of other bodies, statutory and non-statutory, on a day-to-day basis. These include:

  • local authorities
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Roads Authority
  • Government Departments
  • other fishery boards
  • angling clubs
  • NGOs
  • Office of Public Works
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Marine Institute
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
  • Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

The public’s role

The public play an essential role in protecting our aquatic environment, primarily through reporting water pollution and interference in freshwater habitat. If you notice anything suspicious, or see anyone fishing illegally, please call our 24-hour response line on 0044 2871 342100 or use the reporting form on our website.

Handling and sale of wild salmon or sea trout

Loughs Agency spends a great deal of time and money on anti-poaching patrols to protect our salmon stocks. Poaching salmon is obviously illegal, but it is also an offence to handle or sell salmon or sea trout which have been caught illegally. Prosecution can result in large fines or even imprisonment. If you suspect that fish are being handled or traded illegally, we would very much like to hear from you. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

21 April 1926 to 8 September 2022