New metal gates protect fish stocks on the Quoile

New metal gates protect fish stocks on the Quoile

12 February 2020

FISH stocks in the Quoile river have been protected from hungry seals due to the recent replacement of damaged metal gates.

Downpatrick councillors Patrick Brown and Cadogan Enright this week announced the success of their recent initiative to restore the damaged infrastructure of the river to ensure local waterways remain sustainably stocked.

The councillors worked closely alongside Down District Coarse Anglers who had complained of depleted stock in the Quoile river due to seals managing to get into local waterways through a large metal grate which was damaged and rusty. 

The presence of the seals resulted in a considerable in fish levels in the river, which in turn impacted on angling club members and visiting anglers. 

The councillors believe the issue went beyond trespassing seals as it also showcased the need for continued sustainable development in the local tourism industry.

Cllr Brown said that due to lobbying and ongoing representations, DAERA, the department responsible for NI fisheries, had now installed a new metal grate. 

“We’d like to thank DAERA for the swift action in replacing this grate,” said the Alliance councillor. “However, the focus now has to shift and be on restocking the river with a variety of fish so that the Quoile can once again become a popular spot for hobby fishermen.” 

Cllr Enright spoke of how important it was to maintain the Quoile river and its fish stocks.

The independent council member said: “Going back 15 of 20 years, the Quoile was a coarse fishery of national importance. However, neglect by NI Rivers and pollution from NI Water brought it to a low ebb. Up to 20,000 fish died in one instance before the sewage works on the river were upgraded.” 

He added: “Over the last ten years Inland Fisheries from DEARA have regularly restocked the river but the failure of NI Rivers to repair the grills for the fish pass has just provided seals coming in from Strangford Lough with a handy lunch without the effort needed to catch mackerel at sea.”

Trevor Love, chairman of Down District Coarse Anglers, paid his thanks to the councillors for their representation.

He said: “On behalf of all Down District Coarse Anglers, I would like to thank councillors Brown and Enright for their much-needed support to ensure the tidal barrier was repaired.

“Additionally, I welcome the news that they’ve secured assurance from DEARA that the Quoile river will soon be restocked and that this will continue to happen on a regular basis. 

“We look forward to a brighter future for all coarse anglers in this area and the return of the Quoile River as one of the greatest fishing venues in all of Ireland.”