Agency survey is small fry compared to our own data: Faughan Anglers

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The River Faughan Anglers have hit back after Loughs Agency figures suggested just 34 per cent of Salmon caught in the famed river were released in 2014 saying its survey was small fry compared to the club’s own data, which reveal a different picture.

Last week the Sentinel reported how less than a sixth of anglers registered with the Loughs Agency nationwide fulfilled their legal obligation of declaring whether or not they caught Salmon or Sea Trout and went on fishing in 2014 and that fishermen and women on the River Faughan were the least likely of all anglers across the North West to release fish.

But Gerry Quinn, from the River Faughan Anglers, says that’s not the case.

The local association compiles its own figures, which demonstrate a very responsible membership.

The problem is the Loughs Agency doesn’t recognise its data.

Mr Quinn explained: “The Sentinel carried a piece about the Loughs Agency catch returns from anglers, which reflected badly on Faughan anglers, suggesting they tended to release a lot less fish than anglers on other rivers on the Foyle.

“This was based on a small sample whereas Faughan anglers gets around 90 per catch return from our anglers and in 2014 some 51 per cent of Salmon and 60 per cent of Seat Trout were returned alive to the river.

“Loughs Agency doesn’t acknowledge our figures, preferring to rely on their very small return from licence holders.”

Mr Quinn concluded: “Faughan Anglers probably do better than most, not worst.”

The Loughs Agency figures show that based on anglers’ catch returns in 2014, in the River Faughan, 34 per cent of Salmon caught were released.

In the River Mourne 38 per cent were released, 44 per cent in the River Strule and 79 per cent in the River Derg.

In 2014, there were 9,123 licences purchased but only 14 per cent of anglers made their rod catch returns, according to the Loughs Agency.