Agriculture department reveals draft recommendations to deal with blue/green algae as eel fishermen on Lough Neagh fear financial losses

A draft set of ‘evidenced-based recommendations’ to tackle the Blue Green Algae in Lough Neagh and secure ‘longer-term improvements in water quality’ is being refined and finalised, a government spokesman revealed.
Blue green toxic algae on Lough Neagh.Blue green toxic algae on Lough Neagh.
Blue green toxic algae on Lough Neagh.

It followed an invitation from Sinn Féin Cllr Catherine Nelson to the agriculture minister to meet with the eel fishing community in Upper Bann for discussions on the financial pressures they face.


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Cllr Nelson said: “I have written to the agriculture minister highlighting the plight of the eel fishing community who have faced significant financial losses.

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"I am deeply concerned about the struggles faced by our local eel fisherman, particularly around Lough Neagh, with some reporting losses of £20-30k annually.

“I have invited Minister Muir to visit the constituency and meet with our eel fishing community to listen to their concerns around their financial losses and to consider an urgent review of licence fees.”

Asking the Department (DEARA) if it has a strategy to deal with the issues impacting Lough Neagh and a strategy to help eel fishing and fishermen working on the lough a spokesperson said: “A joint DAERA / DfI Water Quality Steering Group is leading the work to address the situation in Lough Neagh.”

He added: “A draft set of evidenced-based recommendations to tackle Blue Green Algae in Lough Neagh and secure longer-term improvements in water quality is being refined and finalised.

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"These will support the actions relevant to supporting water quality across Northern Ireland in the draft Environmental Improvement Plan. Once the Environmental Improvement Plan has been approved, the specific paper on Lough Neagh, containing the recommended actions, will be brought to a subsequent Executive meeting for consideration and discussion.

"The Minister is currently considering a recent request from Councillor Nelson to meet with her and Lough Neagh eel fishermen. The Minister has already agreed to meet with the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society and Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Association to hear at first hand issues concerning commercial fishing on Lough Neagh.

"DAERA regularly engages with the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society with regards to the Neagh / Bann River Basin Eel Management Plan and management measures for eel stocks and commercial fishing activity in Lough Neagh.”

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