DAERA Inland Fisheries is responsible for developing angling and commercial fishing policy in relation to the conservation, protection, development, and improvement of salmon and inland fisheries in Northern Ireland.

What We Do

Under the provisions of the Fisheries Act (NI) 1966, DAERA has powers for the supervision and protection of fisheries and for fostering the establishment and development of fisheries.

It provides advice and guidance on matters relating to the conservation, protection, development and promotion of salmon and inland fisheries (excluding the Loughs Agency Foyle and Carlingford catchment areas) to angling clubs, fishery owners, and a range of other water users and interested parties.

Public Angling Estate (PAE)

DAERA also has the power under the Fisheries Act to acquire and improve facilities for angling for local and visiting anglers. Inland Fisheries are responsible for the management and development of Northern Ireland’s Public Angling Estate (PAE) which currently has 90 waters, (including both lakes and rivers) 69 game,15 coarse and 6 mixed fisheries, where it owns or leases the fishing rights for those waters.

An annual Programme of work is in place to maintain and develop facilities for anglers at these sites. There are some waters in the PAE where DAERA has management agreements in place with angling clubs or community groups to manage the fishery on their behalf.

For information on where you can fish in Northern Ireland, visit nidirect on the link below:
Where you can fish in Northern Ireland | nidirect

DAERA River Bush Salmon Station and Movanagher Fish Farm

Inland Fisheries operates a hatchery at the River Bush Salmon Station. The hatchery facilitates the rearing of juvenile salmon as part of a long term monitoring and assessment project.

For more information about the River Bush Salmon Station, click here.

It also operates Movanagher Fish Farm that produces brown and rainbow trout to stock the DAERA PAE, although some are also supplied to private waters.

For more information about Movanagher Fish Farm, click here.

Conservation, Protection and Enforcement

DAERA in cooperation with Loughs Agency and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), aims to ensure sustainable management of the fishery resource. For more information on conservation protection, click here.

Inland Fisheries enforcement activity is both proactive and reactive; regular patrols are conducted to monitor commercial fishermen and anglers to ensure compliance with the Fisheries Act (NI) 1966 and Fisheries Regulations.

Enforcement officers work on both DAERA PAE waters and private waters in the DAERA jurisdiction.

Promotion of Angling

Inland Fisheries is also responsible for  the promotion of angling in Northern Ireland, the PAE waters and stakeholder engagement. 

For information on angling in Northern Ireland, click here.

DAERA Angling and Commercial Fishing Licences and Permits

Inland Fisheries is responsible for the issue of DAERA angling rod game and coarse licences to enable anglers to fish at public and private fisheries.

A valid DAERA angling rod licence is required for an angler to legally fish in the DAERA fisheries jurisdiction area of Northern Ireland.

Inland Fisheries has responsibility for the issue of DAERA angling  game and coarse permits., A valid DAERA permit is also required for an angler to have permission to fish on DAERA’s Public Angling Estate waters.

For more information about buying DAERA angling licences and permits click here.

Inland Fisheries also has responsibility for the issue of DAERA commercial fishing licences for Lough Neagh and Lough Erne. In addition, they have responsibility for the issue of DAERA commercial fishing permits for Lough Erne. 

A DAERA fish dealer licence is required to sell freshwater fish and wild salmon to the public,  these are issued by Inland Fisheries for the DAERA jurisdiction. A DAERA fish dealer licence covers all vendors from fish vans to large supermarkets.  Further information can be found here.


Under the Fisheries Act (NI) 1966, DAERA is charged with the establishment, development, supervision and protection of fisheries within its jurisdiction (the Loughs Agency has regulatory authority in the Foyle and Carlingford catchment areas).  Within DAERA, Inland Fisheries is responsible for discharging those functions relating to inland fisheries.  There are also several pieces of subordinate legislation which further regulate activity on such fisheries.  Further information can be found here.

Finance and Expenditure

Inland Fisheries manage a resource budget of approximately £1m per year which contributes to the management of PAE infrastructure; provision of a angling promotional programme; the upkeep of fish farms at Movanagher and Bushmills and premises at Riversdale, Castlewellan, Lough Neagh and Portadown; enforcement activity and North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) works. 

A small capital budget is also available to replenish fleet and to upgrade infrastructure.  In 2021, this included the refurbishment of facilities at Bushmills Salmon Station and the installation of navigational plotters on the Lough Neagh enforcement boat.

DAERA generate revenue of approximately £0.5m to £0.6m through the sale of DAERA angling and commercial fishing licences and permits.

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