Bookmark and Share

Habitat Boost Puts Anglers In The Swim

Improvements in local river habitats are set to help rebuild salmon stocks - while an 'invasion' of giant hogweed is to be repelled through a £2.6m project to root the species out of riverbanks in both Ireland and Scotland.

Fast-growing foreign weeds have taken over waterside land, squeezing out native species and limiting access for anglers and other river users as the aggressive plants can cause health problems for those who come in contact.

An EU-funded initiative led by scientists at Queen's University, Belfast, is involved in a scheme spending £12bn controlling the giant hogweed plant across Europe and £7.5m in Britain alone.

The Controlling Priority Invasive Species and Restoring Native Biodiversity will control rogue plants such as the giant hogweed, rhododendron, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam in river catchments on both sides of the Irish border and in Scotland.

It will focus on the River Faughan in County Londonderry, the Newry Canal/Clanrye River, and the River Dee/River Glyde in Co Louth as well as 12 Scottish catchments in the Argyll, Ayrshire, Galloway and Tweed areas.

Also, this week, Ulster Unionist Leader Tom Elliott has expressed his delight over fish habitat improvement work and said that it has been an issue of great concern throughout 2010.

"I know that the Department of Culture Arts & Leisure (DCAL), Rivers Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) have all worked in collaboration with the aim to boost fresh water survival from egg to smolt using scientifically proven habit restoration and enhancement techniques," he said.

"The work that has been carried out so far has seen notable changes in the targeted areas of restoration.
News Image
"I find it heartening to see that the new habitats are functioning and creating the desired effect. The efforts made by the fisheries agency are very encouraging, and it is truly reassuring to see such positive developments," he said.

"I recognise that low marine survival remains a primary concern for DCAL and their partner organisations.

"Therefore, continuing the process aimed at conserving, restoring and enhancing river habitats is vital.

"In this time of economic downturn, this is a commendable scheme which may prove to add to the prosperity in angling as an industry," he concluded.

John Kane, DCAL Senior Fisheries Officer said: "It is very heartening to see your efforts rewarded in this way. I observed the redds during a short break in the freezing conditions in mid December and it was quite clear that fish had dug them recently in the fresh gravels introduced in the autumn.

"It is our hope that our strategic approach to reinstating river habitats for salmonids will sustainably and incrementally increase local salmon and trout stocks and so enhance angling and the angling tourist product in Northern Ireland," he said.

Fish habitat improvement work has been funded and carried out on the Annacloy, Bush, Ballymoney, Ballinderry, Moyola and Ballinamallard rivers and work is planned to improve fish passage at a notorious obstacle on the Lagan.

The main thrust of work on the River Bush is to improve recruitment of parr by enhancing nursery habitat for these young territorial fish. Spawning redds have nonetheless been observed recently throughout the restored reach.

Dr Richard Kennedy of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute commented on the value of the habitat improvement work: "The new planting has added more value to the stretch and I am looking forward to electric fishing the experimental nursery site next summer as this will be the key measure of success."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 February 2018
Other News In Brief
Call For DUP And Sinn Fein To Publish Talks Documentation Ulster Unionist Leader, Robin Swann MLA, has called on DUP and Sinn Fein negotiators to publish their talks documentation.
04 January 2018
Engineers Work Overnight To Reconnect Electricity Supply
All but some 400 homes and businesses have had their power restored following damage caused by Storm Eleanor. It is understood that engineers worked throughout the night in an effort to repair damaged networks and reconnect homes and businesses across NI. Over 25,000 customers lost power at the height of the storm.
24 January 2011
Fish Die In Sixmilewater 'Pollution' Incident
Hundreds of fish have been killed on the Sixmilewater River in Co Antrim, after a prior fish kill in the same river in 2008 - and one even further back, in 2001 The latest one in the scenic stretch of river, (pictured here by Brian McCalden) was reported to the Environment Agency on Sunday afternoon with water and fish samples taken away to be anal
09 June 2010
Pollution Threat Hits Six Mile Water Anglers
Fishing is out-of-bounds this week as apparent pollution on a scenic stretch of river in Co Antrim is investigated.
20 September 2010
River Lagan To Be Dredged
Work to ensure Belfast's main river does not become "smelly" again is to begin shortly. The Stormont Social Development Minister Alex Attwood has announced that the River Lagan will be extensively dredged - cleaning up both the iconic river and creating jobs at the same time. The £2.
25 July 2014
Major Fish Kill In County Armagh
A major fish kill has been reported in County Armagh. It is believed to have been caused by pollution from farm waste, according to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). At least 60 fish have been reported to have been found dead in the Bessbrook River. The NIEA expect this number to rise.
14 August 2001
Agricultural effluent contaminates Forkhill river
Hundreds of fish have been killed in a County Armagh river in a major environmental disaster caused by farm effluent. The fish kill was discovered on the Forkhill river near the south Armagh border by a local angler on Monday morning.
28 June 2005
Larne river walk receives £20k facelift
The Riverdale area of Larne has received a £20,000 facelift thanks to the Department for Social Development’s (DSD) Local Community Fund. The once overgrown Inver River Walk has been transformed with the planting of scented wild flowers, shrubs, trees and the introduction of benches and picnic tables.
06 November 2006
Anglers appeal for river pollution to stop
County Antrim anglers and Friends of the Earth have today accused the government of being “incompetent or incapable” of enforcing the legislation to protect the natural environment.
10 August 2004
Salmon deaths a disaster, say anglers
More than 600 salmon have been poisoned in the River Strule near Omagh according to anglers. An investigation into the allegations led to 200 adult salmon being removed from the river last Friday, however since then a further 400 dead fish have been removed from part of the river near Cappagh Church.
04 December 2017
Two Belfast Community Projects Honoured At Annual Awards
Two Belfast community projects have been recognised at the annual Pride of Place awards in Letterkenny. The Pride of Place competition was initiated 15 years ago through a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.
24 November 2017
Warning Issued After Rogue Traders Offer Power Washing In Belfast
The PSNI have issued a warning for the public to be vigilant after two 'rogue' traders were offering power washing services in Belfast. The men, who are travelling in a small white van with a Dublin registration plate, were operating in the Malone Road and Balmoral road area of the city at around 9am on Thursday, 23 November.
04 October 2002
Minister vows to restore salmon runs
Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, Michael McGimpsey, today emphasised his determination to restore salmon runs in the River Bush. The Minister visited the River Bush Salmon Station where he viewed work being carried out to tackle the decline in the numbers of stock – a problem not confined to Northern Ireland.
31 January 2018
Other News In Brief
Concerns Raised Over Chair Of The Arts Council Concerns have been raised following reports the Chair of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland did not enjoy the full confidence of his board.
30 January 2018
350 Jobs On Offer At Jobs Fair In Belfast
A total of 350 jobs will be on offer at a major jobs fair at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. The event, in partnership with Belfast City council, will take place on Wednesday, 07 February, from 10am to 3pm. Over 75 employers will be available from a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, I.T, healthcare, customer services and many more.