The Loughs Agency is to re-open two of the six main Oyster fishing Beds in Lough Foyle which had been closed for the last number of weeks.
Minister of State Joe Mc Hugh TD and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill MLA jointly welcomed the move.
Minister Mc Hugh said “The decision to open the beds, from 15th to 19th December, will create potential opportunity to catch up to an additional 25 tonnes (up to a value of €125,000) of Oysters in time for the Christmas market”.
“I believe we have achieved a good balance between economic opportunity for local fishermen with a dividend for the local communities and the conservation imperative” he added
Ministers had jointly raised the issue at a meeting with the Agency last Friday’s asking the Agency to review its decision to close the beds and the approach to the issue of Oysters in the Foyle.
Ministers had stressed the importance of scientific advice and analysis and had also emphasised the importance of wider considerations such as the management approach, long term sustainability and the direct and current impact on communities and fishermen around the lough.
Minister McHugh thanked the Agency, Chairman, Chief Executive and Staff for the re-appraisal of the decisions on closure and of the broader issues around the fishery and hoped that the Fishermen and the Agency would work collaboratively on a management structure for the longer term to ensure the enduring viability of the resource.
“I want to emphasise that sustainability and safeguarding this natural resource in Lough Foyle are the shared responsibilities of all stakeholders including the licenced fishermen,” Minister Mc Hugh concluded.