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8 Point plan to change DCAL policy

Following a request from the DCAL Minister the Salmon and Inland Fisheries Forum (SIFF) were tasked with providing 8 recommendations for policy change within DCAL. The Federation have 3 Directors sitting on SIFF and after consultation with our member clubs the Federation have drafted the following policy document which has been agreed. This will be presented to SIFF at the next meeting in September and we await the decision of the Minister on what policy changes she intends to adopt.

1          Head of DCAL Inland Fisheries Group to be a person with a fishery/fish science background, and preferably not sea fisheries. The appointment of pure administrators as head of the Group has been a catastrophic error of judgement.


2          A clear and deliberate change of mindset and policy within DCAL Inland Fisheries Group that adopts a targeted and proactive approach which puts the interests of the wild fisheries first. The protection of the wild fisheries has been a Cinderella area for too long. This instead of the present adoption of a subservient role according to the wishes of other departments/policies.

For example;

2.1       Hydroelectric policy: no permitted development on salmonid rivers.

2.2       Pollution Policy and reparation thereafter.

2.3       Discontinuation of the use of warning letters for offences under the Fisheries Act, e.g. where spawning beds and river habitat have been damaged.

2.4       The lack of protection for the environment, and hence fisheries by DOENI Planning Service is distressing. Housing and other developments are allowed on flood plains, houses on riverbanks etc. Then when flooding occurs people wonder why!  We need to inject some commonsense into the planning procedure.

2.5       Ban on the sale of wild trout, salmon and sea trout.

2.6       Permanent cessation of netting at sea of salmon and sea trout.

2.7       Enhancement of eel passage in the lower Bann.


3          The 1966 Fisheries Act to be subject to a major review and reform.


4          Adequate Catchment Management Plans to be completed by end of 2013, including liaison with clubs, that focus on abundance of fish species and action plans drawn up for each catchment.


5          Scientific assessment of Lough Neagh fish stocks and sustainability of the various fisheries.


6          Fish Passage - Free Passage of fish in all flow conditions to be assured to meet requirements of the Water Framework Directive. Weirs and obstructions with inadequate/no fish passage to be removed or good fish passage provisions made.


7          Development of restocking policy for salmon and trout.


8          Salmonid habitat to be protected from development such as canal reinstatement and road development, etc.

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