Petition to save dollaghan and trout

23 September 2009
A group of Co Antrim anglers have come toegther to launch a petition to save trout and dollagahan across the country from legal netting.
 
Northern Ireland was once renowned for the quality of its Brown Trout fishing. Indeed we have several strains of trout thought to be unique to our part of the world such as Lough Melvins Gillaroo and Sonaghan, Ernes Harvesters and Lough Neagh’s indigenous Trout, the Dollaghan which includes the Boddagh and black Boddagh.
 
These unique fish make for a rich tapestry of angling heritage, hopefully to be nurtured and passed on to future generations.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our angling clubs, who are striving to ensure good habitat and spawning conditions for the Trout, there are many pressures on our fish stocks.

Various types of pollution from industry, agriculture, sewage etc. are taking a toll on water quality. Various ill-thought out planning decisions are impacting on the river environment. Silt from earthworks, quarries etc. are suffocating the spawning gravels.

These problems are being addressed by NIEA, DARD, Rivers Agency, DCAL etc. and the angling clubs, frequently working together to find solutions.

One issue in particular, which we can’t understand, is that despite all these problems being faced by our wild Salmonids, the government in N. Ireland is still granting licences for the commercial exploitation of Wild Brown Trout. There is evidence that this industry is expanding, possibly due to the collapse of the eel industry. Wild Brown Trout are to be found for sale in shops and markets around the province and there is evidence of undersized fish being sold as pike bait.

Those of us who have worked so hard to maintain healthy fish stocks find it unbelievable that this archaic practice is still going on and the fact that it is impossible to monitor or police this industry makes it even harder to accept.

We would appeal to everyone who has an interest in preserving our angling heritage to sign up to our petition at http://www.sixmilewater.co.uk/ so we can encourage our Assembly to ban the sale of wild trout.

We feel that wild Trout are much too valuable a resource to be exploited commercially; angling brings millions of pounds into the N. Ireland economy.
 
With your support we feel that we can ensure a better future for angling tourism but perhaps more importantly we can hand down the legacy of a rich angling tradition to our children and grandchildren, please give us your support.

Thank you.