Displaying items by tag: Loughs Agency
#oysters – Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh T.D. and the North's Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill MLA, jointly welcomed the decision by the Loughs Agency to re-open two of the six main oyster fishing beds in Lough Foyle which had been closed for the last number of weeks.
Minister McHugh said: "The decision to partially re-open the beds from 15 to 19 December 2014 will create potential opportunity to catch up to an additional 25 tonnes (up to a value of €125,000). I believe that the Agency has achieved a good balance between economic opportunity for local fishermen with a dividend for the local communities and the conservation imperative".
He added "I want to emphasise that sustainability and safeguarding this natural resource in Lough Foyle are the shared responsibilities of all stakeholders, including the licensed fishermen."
Minister O'Neill said: "Whilst I appreciate the importance of Management interventions to conserve and maintain oyster stocks, I am mindful of the impact that closure of the oyster beds has had on the livelihood of local oystermen particularly in the run-up to Christmas.
"Looking to the future, I am hopeful that there will be constructive engagement between the Agency and local fishermen on a range of issues that will safeguard the future of the Native Oyster Fishery on Lough Foyle.
Ministers had jointly raised the issue of the closure of the oyster beds at the North South Ministerial Council Aquaculture and Marine Sectoral Meeting in Armagh last Friday when they asked the Agency to review its decision to close the main oyster beds.
The Ministers pointed out the need to strike a balance between the socio-economic benefits for the Foyle Oyster Fishermen and the scientific evidence to support the long term sustainability of the Native Oyster Fishery on Lough Foyle.
Both Ministers thanked the Chairman, Chief Executive and the Loughs Agency staff for efforts in reaching this decision.
#InlandWaterways - Minister Fergus O'Dowd today (3 May) helped launch a new pilot scheme by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) through which angling clubs and organisations can access funding to undertake sustainable development works in the Midland Fisheries Group permit area.
The Midland Fisheries Fund has an initial allocation of €50,000 which has been created from angler contributions set aside from the permit income received by IFI in the Midlands Fisheries Group area. The scheme, which is similar in design to the Salmon Conservation Fund, will allow for habitat improvement but importantly also includes angling development projects in Midlands waterways.
Successful applications will be provided with technical assistance to help them become reality and will foster links between the fishery owners, State agencies and land owners.
The application process itself, says IFI, "will instill confidence in project promoters who are often apprehensive due to the complicated nature of forms and permissions".
The scheme is exclusive to the Midland Fisheries Group area and is only open to clubs in that area.
Minister O'Dowd said at the launch: "This fund reaffirms IFI’s objective to facilitate stakeholders to undertake sustainable development works. These works will enhance and improve fisheries habitats and angling tourism potential and the contribution the inland fisheries resource makes to the economy."
The minister - who is currently undertaking a public consultation around the country in relation to the review of fisheries legislation - said he was encouraged by the angling stakeholders' enthusiasm, knowledge and interest in protecting, managing and developing the resource.
"This scheme encapsulates the partnership approach between IFI and its stakeholders, ensuring projects are environmentally sustainable, undertaken with the appropriate permissions and guidance and developed by local angling clubs for the benefit of locals and tourists alike," he said.
An information evening on the Midland Fisheries Fund will take place in Lough Owel Angling Centre on 14 May at 6.30pm.
Application forms for the fund are available online HERE. The closing date for receipt of application forms is 15 June 2013.
Meanwhile, the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) has backed an initiative for the Loughs Agency to support the Carlingford Oyster Festival this August.
The Aquaculture and Marine sectoral meeting held in Carlingford this morning was attended by Minister for Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, NI Minister for Rural Development Michelle O’Neill, Minister Fergus O’Dowd and NI Minister Nelson McCausland, who were all keen to endorse the proposals of the Loughs Agency to support the festival.
Taking place from 8-11 August, the festival has been developed by the Carlingford Cooley Tourism Association as a family-oriented event that showcases locally produced oysters and seafood. The agency will work in partnership with the local festival organisers on the annual event which attracts large numbers of visitors to the Carlingford area.
Minister O'Dowd said the festival “offers a real opportunity to showcase local produce and bring an international focus on Carlingford Lough as a production area of distinction for excellence seafood."
The ministers were also keen to emphasise that the tourism and visitor potential of the lough area should also benefit from a strong and vibrant oyster festival featuring as an attractive occasion on tourism and event calendars across the island and internationally.
#MARINE TOURISM - The Loughs Agency has announced the availability of funding of up to £7,500 (€9,200) to support angling development and/or marine tourism projects that benefit the Foyle or Carlingford areas.
The limited budget comes by way of the cross-border agency's Sustainable Development Fund, and it advises that only a small number of projects may receive funding.
Applications will be accepted under the themes of developing access and other infrastructure for marine tourism and angling; developing marine tourism and angling products; providing accommodation and facilities for anglers and tourists; and training to develop and enhance capacity for angling and tourism.
Funding will be at a level of up to 75% of total eligible expenditure, and all public sector requirements apply for procurement (including quotes). Approved projects must also be completed by December this year.
Completed application forms must be received at Loughs Agency headquarters by 9.30am on Tuesday 17 July 2012.
This week Northern Ireland welcomes the launch of two new coastal canoe trails.
The new Foyle Canoe Trail stretches for 33 miles from Lifford in Co Donegal to Moville on the Inishowen peninsula at Lough Foyle, passing through Derry on the way, with plenty of wild and official campsites along the route.
Meanwhile, the South East Coast Canoe Trail is a sea kayaker's dream – 50 miles of rocky bays and sandy beaches past the Mourne and Cooley mountain ranges from Strangford village to Newry.
According to OutdoorNI.com, the trails were developed by the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN), the Loughs Agency and Down and Derry District Councils, add to the five inland canoe trails already in place.
CAAN development officer Kathryn Callaghan commented: "Both these trails offer a golden opportunity for us all to explore two picturesque corners of Northern Ireland from a unique perspective.”
Waterproof guides for both trails are available free from from local tourist information centres or online from www.canoeni.com.
The coastal trails are the first of four to be launched in 2011. Later this year the North Coast Canoe Trail will take in the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, while the East Coast Canoe Trail will pass the renowned Glens of Antrim, Belfast Lough and the Ards peninsula.