Suspected poachers are believed to be going door-to-door in Derry and Donegal trying to flog illegally caught salmon to local residents and businesses, experts have warned.
A joint appeal was today issued by the Ulster Angling Federation and the Loughs Agency for householders and businesses to reject salmon that are being offered for sale on the doorstep in the Foyle catchment area, as they may be the result of poaching.
The warning comes at a time when wild salmon stocks at an all-time low.
It is a criminal offence to offer for sale, or purchase any such wild salmon that have been caught in the Foyle catchment.
The experts have warned that the fish on offer “may well be the product of illegal fishing” and therefore represent a significant threat to the future well-being of salmon stocks in the Foyle area.
Salmon which have been legally caught in the Foyle area will have the proper black plastic tag with a number commencing with ‘FFA’, attached through the gill and mouth.
All salmon without a tag are illegal and fish that may be offered headless or filleted should also be rejected in order to help protect our native wild salmon stocks.
The groups have stated: “In addition, there are reports that inferior farmed salmon are being offered for sale as wild fish.
“All this raises substantial issues of poor hygiene, improper storage, and food health and safety of these suspect salmon being offered for sale.
“Anglers and the Loughs Agency are working very hard in many ways to conserve our salmon stocks for the benefit of the community and to ensure the long-term survival of the king of fish.
“Continued vigilance is needed against the trade in illegal salmon so we hope that the good sense of householders and business people will prevail, and that salmon will be allowed to run our local rivers unhindered allowing succeeding generations to appreciate the beauty of this most wonderful of fish.”
Contact The Loughs Agency to report any illegal fishing activity using the 24hr response line telephone number Tel 028 7134 2100 for the north and 0044 28 7134 2100 from the south.
If you wish to report an incident of pollution or illegal fishing please provide detailed information on the location, your observations, when you made your observations and also leave your telephone number.
During normal office hours, your call will be answered by Loughs Agency staff. Outside normal office hours, your call will be dealt with through our automated telephone system.
Outside office hours and upon connection you will be advised to press 1 for emergencies that require immediate attention where you will be transferred to the duty Inspector. For non emergencies you will asked to press 2 to leave a message which will be picked up the following morning (or Monday if reported over the weekend).