Escape of 387k invaders an ‘emotive issue’

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The Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers has said that while the escape of nearly 400,000 Rainbow Trout into local rivers during the August floods was an ‘emotive’ issue, they wanted all members to work with the Loughs Agency to address the problem.

An estimated 387,000 Rainbow Trout - native only to the North Pacific - escaped from a farm into the Strule last year. There was also a smaller scale escape into the River Faughan.

Some of these fish have moved downstream but the majority remain in the lower Strule, lower Derg and upper Mourne. Five hundred have been examined but the agency still needs anglers to report any caught that are over 30 centimetres in length.

In a statement FASTA stated: “We fully understand that the Rainbow Trout incident is a highly emotive matter to all game anglers.

“Loughs Agency staff are the lead agency on the conservation issue alone and are as equally concerned about the seriousness of the situation that the angling community faces.”

Sharon McMahon, of the Loughs Agency, said: “We will continue to work with the relevant statutory agencies to ensure robust biosecurity mechanisms are put in place at fish farms within our catchments to prevent or minimise the risk of further escapements.

“We have been, and will continue to, engage with local angling clubs and umbrella bodies such as the Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers to inform and update anglers as the situation progresses’.

Contact the Agency directly on 02871 342100.