Hazzard Welcomes Progress On Quoile River Restocking Plan
SOUTH Down MLA Chris Hazzard (Sinn Féin) has given a thumbs up to the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure who are currently undertaking a fish stocking exercise at the Quoile River in Downpatrick.
The angling opportunities for local anglers, tourists and visitors will be greatly improved. Currently the native coarse fish stock of rudd in the Quoile is the main species with some roach and hybrids, perch, pike and eels. The pike population have been badly decimated due to the incursion of a seal into the Pondage area through a gap in the tidal barrier. There is also a growing number of game such as brown trout and sea trout which add to the species range. Anglers are hoping too that bream may be added to the species list.
Mr.Hazzard, who has been campaigning for some time now for a re-stocking of the river, said that he was delighted that the efforts by himself and his colleagues had finally paid off.
He said: “DCAL Inland fisheries officers are currently in the process of identifying hatcheries which supply the type of fish required for the Quoile. Once identified, the process will go out to tender. The project has been delayed for quite some time now given firstly the high temperatures over the summer months and then upon the advice of NIEA who recommended a modification to the plan.
“I’m glad that the Department are now in a position to move forward with this exercise which I know will be welcomed by the anglers using the Quoile. The re-stocking exercise is due to be completed by the end of March 2014.
Sinn Féin candidate Naomi Bailie also welcomed the news and said that the re-stocking exercise will complement other impending additions to the Quoile. “Some months ago we made a request for new fishing stands to be erected at the Quoile. Given the river and Strangford Lough are both environmentally protected areas, DCAL had to apply for licenses through the Environment Agency to allow for these new stands to be built.
“We are pleased to learn this week that the stands have been prefabricated locally in a Castlewellan work shop and upon approval from NIEA are ready to be installed. I would urge the Minister for Environment to ensure that this process isn’t delayed any further and take action to see that the stands are in place at the earliest time possible.”
Councillor Éamonn Mac Con Midhe gave his backing to the initiative saying: “I believe that this will be a start to bring the Quoile back to what is was and that is to be welcomed. Sinn Féin will continue to work with the local anglers to make the Quoile the fishing river and tourist attraction that it should be. We have a beautiful river with a lot of potential and we hope to explore that any way possible.”