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Native Oyster Fishery in Foyle Area Suspended to Prioritise Conservation

17th October 2023
Lough Foyle’s native oyster population is important locally and internationally, economically and environmentally
Lough Foyle’s native oyster population is important locally and internationally, economically and environmentally

Loughs Agency, the regulatory body for fisheries in Northern Ireland, has announced the suspension of the Native Oyster Fishery in the Foyle area starting from 6 am on October 24th, 2023, until 6 pm on February 29th, 2024.

The decision was reached after analyzing the latest stock assessment data, direct feedback from license holders, and sampling of the catch by Loughs Agency fishery officers.

The decision to close the fishery was made to prioritise conservation as the evidence available suggests the need to ensure the continued sustainability of the oyster population. Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency CEO, stated that the decision was not taken lightly but is essential to maintain the biomass of spawning stock and the viability of the oyster population.

The decision will have a significant impact on the native oyster fishery stakeholders who will be unable to fish oysters in Lough Foyle during the closure period. However, the regulatory body is committed to taking decisions in a science-led approach to ensure the future sustainability of the fishery.

The marine scientists at Loughs Agency have provided evidence supporting the decision to ensure an acceptable biomass of spawning stock remains in the population for next season. They have also highlighted that removing 100% of the stock above the minimum landing size is not sustainable and removing a large proportion of stock over 80mm this season could have a detrimental impact on future recruitment to the population.

Loughs Agency's remit as a regulatory body allows them to make informed management decisions in real-time, helping maintain a sustainable fishery for the future. Team

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!