Concerns over the size and quantity of fish in a Co Armagh lake has left Council considering a £10,000 re-stock.
A report, to be tabled before councillors on the Leisure Committee tonight (Monday), highlights how “anglers feel very strongly that restocking needs to take place in order to justify the fee they pay for fishing”.
Despite the lake being a coarse fishery, where any fish caught are returned, there has been a decline in the number and size of fish caught over the last few years, the report adds.
The lake at Loughgall has been stocked on three occasions since opening in 2000.
In 2001, Bream and Roach were purchased from Lough Neagh at a cost of approximately £4,000.
In 2003, 100 Carp were purchased at a cost of approximately £3,000 and an average weight of 8lbs.
They have thrived in Loughgall to the extent that a Carp caught there last year is currently recognised as the Irish Record.
In 2012 DCAL (Now DAERA) were ending their Carp breeding programme and had approximately 200 small Carp to relocate. They were stocked into Loughgall Lake.
No further restocking has taken place since 2012. Carp for restocking would have to be purchased and transported from the UK as there are no suppliers in Northern Ireland and would be subject to DAERA health checks and permits.
The reports estimates that the restocking of the fish, to ensure provision of a quality fishing facility, would be £10,000 in the next financial year and £10,000 in 2021.
This provision, the report states, “should be adequate for the next 10 years”.
It is anticipated income would increase by approximately £1,000 per year as a result of additional stocking.
The income from fishing at Loughgall would be: 2015-2016, £6875.54; 2016-2017, £6598.68; 2017-2018, £6911.30
No provision has been made in this years budget for restocking so this will have to be addressed when considering pressures for next year’s budget.
Despite the recommendation from Council officers to proceed with restocking, the decision will fall upon councillors on the Leisure Committee this evening, before that decision is ratified at full Council later this month.