Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler as called on the Culture Minister “to get her department’s act in gear and clamp down hard on fish poachers who are causing havoc to the constituency’s waterways and legitimate angling community”.
“I have been contacted by constituents from the angling community who are worried about the impact which out of season winter poachers will have on the River Lagan and other fishing waterways throughout the constituency,” said Mr Butler.
“These so-called anglers continue to fish these waterways right throughout the year taking small fish and spawners.
“This action is certainly not about the genuine sport of legal angling, and even if they possess a licence, they should know that the season is now closed until March 2016 to protect our stocks of spawning fish.
“Clearly, the real danger to our spawning fish stock comes from these poachers who are fishing illegally without licences.
“There is a growing perception among the genuine angling community that the current DCAL policy is to promote coarse fishing over game fishing and that this may be due in some part to lower water quality requirements.
“The DCAL Minister needs to act fast on this issue and I fully intend to meet with local police chiefs on the matter to see what needs to be done to stamp out this fish poaching scourge.”