East Derry Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed the Salmon Regulations brought forward by the Committee of the Department Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) which will effectively mean that all salmon and sea trout caught on DCAL controlled waters will have to be released.
Cathal Ó hOisín who is a keen angler and also the Chair of the Assembly All-Party Group on Angling said
“I am delighted with the outcome of the consultation with angling clubs, associations, lobby groups and others that recognised that both salmon and sea trout are effectively an endangered species and require the utmost protection whilst still affording fishing which is the worlds most popular sport to continue.
“Anglers I have talked to have expressed disappointment that they might no longer take a fish but are willing to sacrifice this so that future generations might enjoy the pleasure that fishing for Atlantic Salmon has given many of us.
“The simple fact is that the current salmon levels are unsustainable and this piece of legislation as well as the cessation of netting will help ensure the future of the salmon and sea trout stocks.
“Angling is worth nearly £1 billion to the economy on the island of Ireland and thus must be protected and fostered. The angling clubs I have talked to, have in the main been practicing ‘Catch and Release’ for many years now, and have welcomed this legislation with open arms, and I would hope that anyone with reservations will recognise the benefits in the long run.
“Salmon may still be caught using barbless hooks and must be carefully returned and guidance will be given by DCAL officials to angling clubs through a series of meetings before the opening of the game fishing season on 1st March.”