Loughs Agency Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring Programme

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1 Loughs Agency Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring Programme Fisheries Coordination Centre/RAFTS Annual Biologists Meeting 29 th 30 th January 2014 Marine Scotland Freshwater Laboratory, Pitlochry Art Niven, Fisheries Biologist, Loughs Agency (FCILC)

2 OVERVIEW Introduction to the Loughs Agency (brief history and current roles and responsibilities) IBIS Audit point management system for Atlantic salmon Other freshwater fisheries monitoring projects Conclusions

3 INTRODUCTION Prior to 1952 significant parts of the commercial and rod fishing rights to the Foyle area were claimed by the Honourable the Irish Society a plantation body established in the early 17 th century. This was challenged in 1947 by local fishermen leading to the Foyle Fisheries Case in the High Court in Dublin. In 1952 the Foyle Fisheries Commission was established to license, operate and manage the fisheries of the cross border Foyle area on behalf of both governments who had purchased most of the commercial fishing rights as a compromise solution after the Foyle Fisheries Case. FFC operated various commercial fisheries selling directly to merchants in Europe and was the local licensing authority for rod and commercial fisheries including Drift and Draft net (net and cobble) fisheries. In 1998 the Good Friday agreement led to the British Irish Agreement of This established a number of cross border bodies and developed the functions of some including the Loughs Agency (Foyle Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission) The Loughs Agency assumed the functions of the FFC and obtained additional functions and area of responsibility.

4 INTRODUCTION The Loughs Agency mission statement is.to provide sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas The functions of the Loughs Agency are: The promotion of development of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough for commercial and recreational purposes in respect of marine, fishery and aquaculture matters The management, conservation, protection, improvement and development of the inland fisheries of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas The development and licensing of aquaculture The development of marine tourism

5 INTRODUCTION The Loughs Agency primary legislation is the Foyle Fisheries (Northern Ireland) Act 1952 (plus amendments) and the Foyle Fisheries Act 1952 (plus amendments) (ROI equivalent). Also referred to as parallel legislation. The 1952 Acts enables the Loughs Agency to create statutory regulations pertaining to its roles and responsibilities.

6 (4500km 2 & 5 SAC River designations)

7 Integrated Aquatic Resource Management Between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland (IBIS) A partnership between the Loughs Agency, Queen's University Belfast, and the University of Glasgow, supported by the EU's INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the SEUPB. Runs from To enhance aquatic resources management across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Delivering across four outcome areas: Research Training (SFCC Electrofishing Courses, FBA courses, Invasive species ID etc.) knowledge transfer, (WTT workshops, tagging workshop, small streams workshop etc.) capacity building

8 LOUGHS AGENCY AUDIT POINT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR ATLANTIC SALMON The Foyle Area (Control of Fishing) Regulations 2010 is the Catch Returns cornerstone of the real-time fishery management regime outlining the rationale and conditions set on the commercial and rod fisheries Habitat Surveys Fish Counters Semi Q Electrofishing Redd Counts

9 Faughan Owenreagh East Roe Glenelly Burn Dennet Derg Owenkillew Camowen Finn Drumagh Owenreagh S Strule Fairywater Culdaff Deele Foyle South /4 2006/7 2009/ /13 Average Fry/5 Minute Fishing Number of Redds * * Number of Fish > 45cm Number of Salmon Rod Catch % Returns River Mourne Electronic Fish Counters Figures Conservation Limit Management Target 5 Year Average Salmon Rod Catch Reported Rod Catch Corrected Rod Catch Rod Catch % Return Summary of Salmon and Trout Fry Semi Quantitative Electrofishing Results 2012 from circa 400 sites Year Foyle Area Redd Count 1952/ / Catchment Year

10 HABITAT SURVEY Follows DANI methodology plus additional pressure codes Data collected on Trimble Juno handheld units Used to calculate CL s Integrated into GIS and queried to highlight potential areas for habitat improvement Needs regular updating

11 WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE FISH MONITORING 28 WFD fish surveillance monitoring stations in Loughs Agency area 3 year rolling programme Report fish classification to NIEA who collate final classifications Utilises FCS2 (Ireland) methodology Contribute towards POM s

12 More work needed to investigate potadromous and anadromous migrations of trout TROUT MONITORING PROGRAMMES Ongoing Brown trout and Sea trout monitoring programmes Lough Derg Wild Trout Conservation Project in partnership with Pettigo and District Angling Association RST deployed annually since 2010 Out migrant trout on d/s spawning run Key biological data collected Radio tracking GSI exercise under IBIS/QUB Programme of improvements/ongoing monitoring Developing network of Sea trout index tributaries Rod catch & electrofishing data Increasing awareness of small streams

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14 RARE FISH MONITORING (JUVENILE LAMPREY) Since 2010 the Loughs Agency has conducted annual juvenile lamprey distribution and abundance surveys. To date these have focused on the designated SAC catchments. It is planned to roll this out to the other catchments in coming years. Currently collaborating with QUB and Phd student on lamprey work. Following procedures as outlined in LIFE in UK Rivers monitoring series and adapted by IFI/Loughs Agency Highlighted barriers issues which dovetails well with other work

15

16 STILLWATER FISH MONITORING The Loughs Agency conducts WFD compliant still water fishery surveys to aid with fishery development and to provide baseline data for other purposes Little work has been conducted on the stillwaters of the Foyle and Carlingford areas

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18 HABITAT IMPROVEMENTS Currently writing a strategy document and implementation plan for habitat improvements. This is following on from the catchment status reports which have been published for the past eight years Importance of developing partnerships acknowledged Capacity needs to be built in terms of practical habitat improvement delivery WTT practical habitat improvement workshop (4 days Foyle area Sept 2013) videos on Loughs Agency Facebook pages Multiple approaches, need to fit best available options to each scenario. Dependant on level of information available. Flexible approach required

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20 RIPARIAN INVASIVE SPECIES AND BARIERS TO MIGRATION Overview Densities Species Himalyan Balsm Hogweed Japanese Knotweed Meters Location of Riparian Invasive Species, Faughan Catchment Summer 2009 Crown Copyright and database rights EMOU205.1 ±

21 POPULATION STRUCTURE OF ATLANTIC SALMON POPULATIONS AND GENETIC STOCK IDENTIFICATION OF THE SALMON FISHERIES IN THE FOYLE SYSTEM

22 CONCLUSION Quick overview of many of the Loughs Agency freshwater monitoring programmes Importance of developing statutory and non statutory partnerships: THANK YOU WFD River restoration and continuity Knowledge transfer Consensus building Dissemination of information to stakeholders New approaches required in the context of diminishing resources Utilisation of new technology Volunteer coordination

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