On Saturday 21st January, the Northern Ireland Angling Conference took place in the Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown and played host to around 50 representatives from angling clubs, angling federations, governing bodies, local authorities and policy makers to discuss various issues that are of benefit to anglers.

The NI Angling Forum is chaired by DAERA Inland Fisheries and has representatives from Sport NI, Loughs Agency, Waterways Ireland, Tourism NI and the 3 main angling governing bodies. It seeks to take forward the recommendations outlined in the Strategic Review of Angling in Northern Ireland report click here. The Northern Ireland Angling Conference is one of those recommendations. The event is co-sponsored by Sport NI, DAERA Inland Fisheries and the Loughs Agency.

From the beginning, the atmosphere of the conference was one of enthusiastic optimism, and the event highlighted the real potential for positive collaboration and communication amongst our various angling stakeholders.

The first half of the day included speeches from the Governing Bodies while the second half of the day belonged to our passionate angling clubs, sharing their experiences of different angling projects.

Gary Houston (Ulster Angling Federation) updated the conference on the Strategic Review of Angling and the projects from the transition funding from Sport NI.

Following this, Richard Hadley from the Angling Trust presented the new “Get into fishing awards” and the new accredited guiding courses that the Angling Trust have developed.

Mike Mc Clure (SportNI) in his talk ‘Environmental Education in Outdoor Sports’ emphasized the importance of being aware of the outdoor environment which we all share, in terms of moving towards sustainability, protection of biodiversity, vulnerable habitats, and the functioning of ecosystems.

After Lunch, there were several outstanding presentations from delegates and representatives of angling clubs sharing their experiences, strategies and visions for the future of angling in NI.

Key Speakers included;

  • Engaging Women and Girls – Susan Brown
  • Community Engagement - Tony Green & James O’Doherty
  • Club, Youth & Competition Development – Damien Devine
  • Infrastructure Development – Chris Campbell
  • Catchment Care Project – Sean Gallanagh

Further discussion and audience participation continued with other key themes such as funding, however, there was a clear take-home message that echoed from speaker to speaker; we must find ways to improve our waters and how we work and communicate together.

 

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