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Displaying items by tag: Lough Neagh

#LoughNeagh - Families who have worked for generations in eel farming on Lough Neagh - putting the region on the map for its world-renowned eels – fear they are being pushed out of the industry by "unfair" policies, say campaigners.

And as Belfast Live reports, the authorities in charge of eel permits have also been accused of refusing to renew existing licences.

The Lough Neagh United Fishermen, or LNUF, says many long-time eel fishing families "grew up with the assurance that [they] would be 'looked after'".

Spokesperson Brian Wylie says his group's members also hold shares in the Lough Neagh Fishermen's Co-operative Society Ltd, which is authorised to issue permits for eel fishing.

"Our members are being ignored [by the co-operative] on a yearly basis, and can clearly see permits being handed out to people and their families never were involved in the ethos or concept," he adds.

Belfast Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Angling - Derry chef Emmett McCourt looks forward to giving visitors to the Northern Ireland Angling Show a taste of Lough Neagh's world-renowned eels this coming June.

As the top cook tells the Londonderry Sentinel: “Lough Neagh eels are revered around the world as the best there are - but people here [in Ireland] don’t generally eat them.”

McCourt wants to make them the star of the show at the angling expo, which was first held last summer alongside the popular Irish Game Fair on the shores of Ireland's biggest lake.

The joint events are expected to highlight the wealth of local produce and artisan food, not to mention recipes reflecting the traditions of the region.

The 2015 Irish Game Fair and Northern Ireland Angling Show take place over the weekend on 27 and 28 June at Shane’s Castle in Antrim.

Published in Angling

#Seafood - Lough Neagh eels may no longer be protected by Brussels regional designation rules if a proposed free trade deal with North America goes through.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the lough's eels are among a number of foodstuffs in Northern Ireland that come under EU Protected Geographical Indication, which means that only products produced in a particular area – like Cornish pasties or parmesan cheese – can be named and marketed as such.

But German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt has said that such protections, which are not recognised in the United States, may have to be abandoned "if we want to take advantage of the opportunities of free trade with the huge American market".

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#LoughNeagh - The Belfast Telegraph has posted an incredible photo of a funnel cloud that appeared over Lough Neagh last week.

Barry McGuigan, a fisherman working on the largest lake in the island of Ireland, captured the stunning image of the unusual cloud formation - often the precursor to a tornado - as it hovered over the water close to another fishing vessel.

"It was like a twister but it stayed in one place for five to 10 minutes and then it just fizzled out," he said.

It's now believed to be the most photographed and videoed weather phenomenon in Northern Ireland, with this video posted to YouTube by John McCorry just one example.

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph also reports that the aristocratic owner of Lough Neagh has vowed to work with the NI Legislative Assembly on its strategic management.

The 12th and present Earl of Shaftesbury, philanthropist and endurance athlete Nick Ashley-Cooper, said he welcomed the conclusion of a long-delayed report into the future of the lough and "wholeheartedly" agrees with its findings.

It comes some months after fears that the report by a special working group would remain shelved at Stormont, and its findings never made public.

"The report indicates clearly that the estate's ownership of the bed and soil is not a barrier to any potential development and that there is no compelling argument in favour of public ownership," said Lord Shaftesbury.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#canoe – Three canoeists have been pulled from the water after getting into difficulty in Lough Neagh.

Belfast Coastguard received a call on VHF channel 16 just after 1pm yesterday afternoon reporting that three canoeists had fallen into the water between Rams Island and Sandy Bay. Conditions on the water at the time were described as choppy, with a southerly wind of force 4 (13–17 mph).

The Kinnego Coastguard Rescue Team along with the Kinnego and Ardboe Independent Rescue Boats were sent to the scene. The three, who were all wearing lifejackets, were rescued from the water by a sand barge that was close by at the time. They were then transferred to the Ardboe rescue boat, and taken ashore where they were met by Coastguard Rescue Officers and passed into the care of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Liam Colquhoun, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said:

"These three canoeists all had lifejackets on, but unfortunately they weren't wearing wet suits or any type of gear that would help keep them warm. They were passed into the care of paramedics showing signs of hypothermia.

"We always recommend that canoeists and kayakers are well prepared before setting out. Check weather and tides, wear a buoyancy aid, suitable clothing and carry a VHF marine band radio with you. Where there is good network coverage then it is worth carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof bag.

"Call the Coastguard if you get into difficulty, preferably via channel 16 on your radio or if not by calling 999 on your mobile and asking for the Coastguard."

Published in Coastguard
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#LoughNeagh - Northern Ireland's Agriculture Minister has rejected claims that she has ignored the findings of a working group on the future of Lough Neagh that were submitted a year ago.

As previously covered on Afloat.ie, the report considering the future of the largest of Ireland's inland waterways has sat on minister's shelves in Stormont for almost 12 months, with fears mounting that its recommendations will never be made public.

But the Belfast Telegraph reports that Minister Michelle O'Neill has hit back at criticism from DUP members of the NI Assembly who accused her of having "buried" the report because it did not gel with her department's plans to take the lough into public hands.

"I think that there is a certain wee bit of paranoia there," said the minister regarding the DUP's comments.

She also said that her "sole focus throughout all this work has been on unlocking the potential of Lough Neagh", adding that she had only recently been presented with new research commissioned by Culture and Leisure Minister Caral Ni Chuilin that would add context to last year's working group findings.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#LoughNeagh - The Belfast Telegraph reveals that a report by a special working group into the future of Lough Neagh has sat on the shelf at Stormont for almost 12 months - and it's feared that its recommendations will never be made public.

The report was commissioned as part of plans in early 2012 by the NI Legislative Assembly to take the largest inland lake in the island of Ireland - which supplies nearly half of Northern Ireland's drinking water - into full public ownership.

It's not commonly known that Lough Neagh is owned by the Earl of Shaftesbury, though the water within it is public property.

The 12th and present Earl of Shaftesbury, philanthropist and endurance athlete Nick Ashley-Cooper, recently met with MLAs to discuss the stalled progress on taking the lough public.

Responsibility for various aspects of the lough fall on different departments within Stormont, which may explain why one MLA believes the report "may never see the light of day".

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#MarineWildlife - Lack of food has seen a severe decline in migrating birds visiting Lough Neagh for the winter, according to UTV News.

Researchers from Queen's University Belfast have noted a shocking 75% drop in numbers of visiting water fowl on Ireland's largest lough - from some 100,000 to fewer than 21,000 in the span of 10 years.

And the finger of blame is being pointed at a change in the lough's ecosystem that has seen a significant fall-off in the Special Protection Area's main food source of insects and snails.

Ironically, the reason for this may be a stemming of agricultural run-off into the lough, the extra nutrients from which "artificially boosted its productivity", according to Dr Irena Tománková from Quercus, Northern Ireland's Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science.

In addition, climate change has seen lakes in Northern Europe that were once frozen over in winter become available for feeding for more of the year, meaning that once migratory birds are staying put.

UTV News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#LoughNeagh - Former British Army corporal Dean Owen recently swam 20 miles across Lough Neagh despite not having full use of his legs.

And as the News Letter reports, the achievement is doubly special as the route from the north-east shore to the south-west has never been completed before by any swimmer - let alone one only using their arms.

Owen - who broke his back in a road accident more than 10 years ago - received a plaque from Craigavon mayor Mark Baxter on top of the £8,500 (€10,000) he has already raised toward treatment for four-year-old Caleb Kerr's cerebral palsy.

In other Northern Ireland waterways news, residents of East Belfast will soon be able to enjoy a new crossing of the Connswater River at Victoria Park, according to the News Letter.

The Sam Thompson Bridge saw its main 60-tonne structure lifted into place by one of Europe's largest cranes last weekend.

It's expected to form part of a new network of pedestrian paths linking the Castlereagh Hills to Belfast Lough.

Published in Inland Waterways
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#Fishing - Tributes have been paid to the driving force behind Europe's largest wild eel fishery in Lough Neagh.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, Father Oliver Kennedy passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

Described by NI Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill as "an inspirational figure for Lough Neagh fishermen and their families", Fr Kennedy was chairman of the Lough Neagh Fishermen's Co-operative Society.

The priest co-founded the society in 1965 in an effort to assist local eel fishermen in asserting their rights on the lough - including fundraising efforts that enabled the fishermen to take control of Toome Eel Fishery.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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Whether you're a boat enthusiast, historian, archaeologist, fisherman, or just taken by the natural beauty of Ireland's waterways, you will find something of interest in our Inland pages on Afloat.ie.

Inland Waterways

Ireland is lucky to have a wealth of river systems and canals crossing the country that, while once vital for transporting goods, are today equally as important for angling, recreational boating and of course tourism.

From the Barrow Navigation to the Erne System, the Grand Canal, the Lower Bann, the Royal Canal, the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Shannon Navigation, these inland waterways are popular year in, year out for anyone with an interest in rambling; flora and fauna; fishing; sailing; motorboating; canoeing, kayaking and waterskiing; and cruising on narrowboats.

Although most will surely identify Ireland's inland waterways with boating holidays and a peaceful afternoon's angling, many varieties of watersport are increasingly favoured activities. Powerboat and Jetski courses abound, as do opportunities for waterskiing or wakeboarding. For those who don't require engine power, there's canoeing and kayaking, as Ireland's waterways have much to offer both recreational paddlers and those looking for more of a challenge. And when it comes to more sedate activities, there's nothing like going for a walk along a canal or river bank following some of the long-distance Waymarked Ways or Slí na Sláinte paths that criss-cross the country.

Ireland's network of rivers, lakes and canals is maintained by Waterways Ireland, which is one of the six North/South Implementation Bodies established under the British-Irish Agreement in 1999. The body has responsibility for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of inland navigable waterways on the island of Ireland, principally for recreational purposes. It also maintains Ireland's loughs, lakes and channels which are sought after for sailing; the network of canal locks and tow paths; as well as any buoys, bridges and harbours along the routes.

Along the Grand and Royal Canals and sections of the Barrow Navigation and the Shannon-Erne Waterway, Waterways Ireland is also responsible for angling activities, and charges Inland Fisheries Ireland with carrying out fisheries development, weed management and ensuring water quality.

Brian Goggin's Inland Blog

Giving his personal perspective on Ireland's Inland Waterways from present-day activities to their rich heritage, Brian Goggin tells it like it is with his Inland Blog.

From recognising achievements in management of the waterways to his worries on the costs of getting afloat on Ireland's canals, Goggin always has something important to say.

He also maintains the website Irish Waterways History that serves as a repository for a wealth of historical accounts of the past commercial and social uses alike of Ireland's rivers and canals, which were once the lifeblood of many a rural community.