As BBC News reports, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín said that the new rules are "the first step in a series of conservation measures aimed at protecting stocks of the iconic Atlantic salmon".
The rod and line catch sale ban is intended to encourage the practice of 'catch and release' which is set to become mandatory next year, and also brings NI legislation into line with the rest of Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
It comes months after the shocking news that just three out of every 100 wild salmon returned to Northern Ireland's rivers in 2011, prompting concerns that the species has declined to "Dodo levels".
Another threat to salmon numbers is the rise of invasive species in Northern Ireland's waterways, which as the News Letter reports have cost the economy more than £46 million a year, according to Environment Minister Alex Attwood.
Highlighting the risk to NI's marine wildlife and plantlife, as well as fisheries and agriculture, the minister said "increasing awareness of the threat of invasive species and the need to tackle them is key to achieving success".
A new strategy by the Legislative Assembly will involve partnerships between government, the community and environment groups "working in tandem" to deal with the problems caused by invasive species such as the Japanese sea squirt, detected in Strangford Lough last year.