News & Reports

Coronavirus Update - 18th May 2020

May 2020

Member Update

Coronavirus - An Update for Members 18/5/20.

18/5/20

The river is open for angling. Please respect the social distancing guidelines.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT AND RURAL AFFAIRS 

15 May 2020 2.28 pm

Minister confirms the re-opening of the Public Angling Estate .


Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed that the Public Angling Estate (PAE) will gradually re-open to local anglers from Monday.
Thirty PAE’s across Northern Ireland will re-open to the public for recreational use, but anglers should only use the DAERA facilities within their local area and should not travel long distances. Minister Poots also confirmed that car parking facilities will remain closed until 27 May 2020.
Speaking about the announcement, the Minister said: “In the interests of public health, I shut down the angling estate on 30 March, to discourage unnecessary journeys and protect my staff as well as anglers themselves, given that the majority are in the 50+ age bracket and many have concessionary angling licences due to underlying health issues.
“While car parks will remain closed until 27 May to discourage long journeys, I have decided to permit local anglers back on to the Public Angling Estate so that they can participate in their favourite recreational activity.
“By its nature, angling is a solo sport or hobby, and its participants can enjoy a day’s fishing without being in close contact with others. The sport has huge benefits for people’s mental and physical well-being and in this time of uncertainty, I know that many people have missed the solitude and peace that angling and being outdoors with nature, brings them.
“However, let me be clear – anglers must continue to follow social distancing guidelines, practice good hand hygiene and walk to their nearest PAE, fishing alone or with a member of their own household. I do not want to see crowds of people near the river banks and fisheries."

14th May 2020

Mr Edwin Poots, Minister has declared on "The View" that angling will be permitted on

DAERA waters from Monday 18th May, though car parking facilities will remain closed for the time

being.

10th May 2020 - Letter from Ulster Angling Federation to Minister:

Dear Minister,

Following the statement from the Prime Minister today, please confirm that Angling will resume in Northern Ireland, as in England on Wednesday May 13th.

Also please confirm that both DAERA and Loughs Agency online licensing systems will be brought back online by Wednesday.

Many of our Angling businesses face closure and clubs are in severe financial difficulty.

I enclose our proposal previously e-mailed to you.

Best Regards,

Gary Houston,

Chairman,

Ulster Angling Federation

3/5/20 The Ulster Angling Federation has presented its proposals to Mr Edwin Poots making the case for a return to angling. This is a staged approach as follows:

Proposed guidelines for safe, permitted fishing.

Please note that these guidelines have NOT been agreed yet by government.

The Ulster Angling Federation supports a phased or ‘traffic light’ approach to the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions. We have produced guidelines for the phased resumption of recreational fishing.

Phase One (For Immediate Review)

Recreational angling on lakes, rivers and sea to be added to the list of permissible activities subject to the following guidelines:

Angling to be undertaken on a solitary basis - social distancing in accordance with government guidelines must be maintained at all times.

Anglers must follow current government guidance on travel for the benefit of recreational activity.

All freshwater anglers must be in possession of the relevant fishing licence.

Sea angling from beach and shore to resume along with small scale private boat fishing.

No sharing of fishing tackle or any other items.

No sharing of fishing positions (swims) except by members of the same household.

No angler to fish or pass within 2 metres of any other angler.

Freshwater boat fishing to be permitted 2 anglers per boat over 17ft complying with self-distancing over 2 metres. Anglers to travel separately by car to venue unless member of the same family.

No keepnets or competition fishing.

 Online and electronic day ticket payments to be made wherever possible.

Onsite shared facilities such as cafes and clubhouses to remain closed.

Fisheries unable to adhere to these guidelines should remain closed until further notice.

Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or who shares a household with any individual displaying symptoms, should not go fishing and should continue to follow government advice on isolation.

Anglers should at all times carry hand sanitizer.

Mr Edwin Poots, Environment Minister, has suggested that some activities such as visiting garden centres and angling, as a solitary activity, might be looked at when the Assembly considers easing the restrictions.

The Angling Trust has outlined a staged approach to a resumption of angling in GB. They are asking the government to look at this when they carry out a review on May 7th.

The full report can be viewed on the Angling Trust website: www.anglingtrust.net.

The health and safety of our members is of the utmost importance to us. We are all very aware of the serious threat that Coronavirus poses.

For the benefit of our members we are posting the latest advice received from DAERA (30/3/20) and Loughs Agency (3/4/20):

Advice sent to Governing Bodies of Angling by DAERA.

  • Public Angling Estate closed to Angling.
  • Angling not a permitted form of exercise.

The advice from Loughs Agency is as follows:

3rd April 2020

Dear Angler

Re: COVID-19

I hope this correspondence finds you and your families safe and well. These are unprecedented times for us all.

Loughs Agency continues to review the most recent announcements from the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We urge the angling community to follow the guidance provided and to keep up to date with the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland.

As you will be aware both governments have provided guidance, listing circumstances where members of the public may leave their homes at this time. One of these is to take exercise, either alone or with other members of their household. The only forms of exercise permitted are walking, running or cycling. Angling, like many other forms of recreation is not specifically mentioned as a form of exercise, therefore we would urge you not to go fishing at this time – this includes Loughs Agency’s permit waters on the River Finn, River Foyle and at the Greenbraes. We thank those anglers who are already adhering to this advice and we will continue to review government guidance as it is issued.

While we hope these restrictions won’t last long, we must all do what is asked of us by government and work together to fight this pandemic. This is about saving lives and supporting our healthcare systems and frontline staff. The Agency is encouraged by private fisheries closing during this pandemic and heeding government advice.

Loughs Agency offices are closed and we would ask our stakeholders to engage with us using email and telephone. We currently do not have the capacity to facilitate the selling of licences by phone or through our eLicencing system. However, our Fishery Officers will be patrolling the rivers and will ask anyone found angling to leave at once.

We encourage you to report illegal angling or pollution concerns through our website or through our 24hr response line on +44 (0) 2871 342100.

The safety of anglers, Loughs Agency staff, our families and healthcare professionals are paramount at this time. We must do all that we can to help deal with this health emergency.

Yours sincerely

Sharon McMahon

Chief Executive Officer

Look after yourselves and keep safe.