Lough Neagh Fishing Industry: Support

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 8th September 2020.

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Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party 2:30 pm, 8th September 2020

T1. Mr McGlone asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs whether support will be forthcoming for the fishing industry on Lough Neagh, given that he will acknowledge that Mr McGlone has written to him several times and has had a number of conversations with him about that issue. (AQT 321/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

We recognise that the Lough Neagh eel fishery has been affected, and we will be looking to provide some support for that sector. We are looking at around £250,000 to implement a support scheme for inland fishermen who fish on Lough Neagh for the eel and scale fisheries. That course of work is not complete, but that is certainly the figure that we are looking at to provide support for Lough Neagh fishermen.

Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party

I thank the Minister for that. He has provided part of the answer to my follow-up question, which is whether he will give full consideration to providing support for the eel fisheries and the scale fishing industry on Lough Neagh.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

Yes, and I recognise that a lot of these people have a real love for going out onto that lough and fishing. It is not the most profitable thing in the world, and they have been significantly affected as a consequence of COVID. So, I trust that we will be able to offer them some support and help to enable them to keep their nets and boats in reasonable shape for future years.