September 3, 2008

Bid to Have Faughan Protected


AN APPLICATION is to be sent to the European Commission to have the River Faughan designated a conservation area to protect salmon stocks.

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has approved the submission to have the river and several tributaries flowing from it as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for Atlantic Salmon.

The move comes amid fears over local stocks of the prized catch among the fishing industry and angling community.

Mr Wilson said: "The decline in the number of Atlantic Salmon returning to their native rivers in Northern Ireland, and indeed in many other rivers throughout Europe, is a matter of concern here and elsewhere within the European Union.

"The reasons for this decline have yet to be clearly established but what is evident is the need for us to take action to protect rivers in Northern Ireland which support populations that are of international importance. The protection of approximately 37 miles of the River Faughan and its tributaries is an important addition to the 128 miles of river within the River Foyle and River Roe systems that are already protected in accordance with the Habitats Directive."

Like other parts of the United Kingdom and the European Union, Northern Ireland is required under the directive to protect rivers holding important stocks of Atlantic Salmon and other threatened species and important habitats at risk.

Northern Ireland has already designated 52 SACs, covering approximately 66,000 hectares. These host many species and habitat types such as woodlands, peatlands or mountain areas such as the Mournes .

Originally published by BRENDAN McDAID [email protected]

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