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Dear All,

We refer to Minister Poots’ announcement last night that angling in Northern Ireland could commence on the DAERA angling estate.  The Minister’s statement was unexpected at that time and was ambiguous about the position of private fisheries.

To this end we have been working closely today with the Ulster Angling Federation and the ABC Council to seek clarification on what our position is regarding Corbet Lough and River Bann.  

The Minister confirmed that the Public Angling Estate facilities across Northern Ireland will re-open to the public for recreational use, but anglers should only use the DAERA facilities within their local area and should not travel long distances.  Minister Poots also confirmed that car parking facilities will remain closed until 27 May 2020.

Speaking about the announcement, the Minister said:

“In the interests of public health, I shut down the angling estate on 30 March, to discourage unnecessary journeys and protect my staff as well as anglers themselves, given that the majority are in the 50+ age bracket and many have concessionary angling licences due to underlying health issues.

“While car parks will remain closed until 27 May to discourage long journeys, I have decided to permit local anglers back on to the Public Angling Estate so that they can participate in their favourite recreational activity.

“By its nature, angling is a solo sport or hobby, and its participants can enjoy a day’s fishing without being in close contact with others. The sport has huge benefits for people’s mental and physical well-being and in this time of uncertainty, I know that many people have missed the solitude and peace that angling and being outdoors with nature, brings them.

“However, let me be clear – anglers must continue to follow social distancing guidelines, practice good hand hygiene and walk to their nearest PAE, fishing alone or with a member of their own household. I do not want to see crowds of people near the riverbanks and fisheries.”

The ABC Council has advised us that they have discussed this matter today and that in light of Minister Poots decision to keep carparks at fisheries closed until 27 May that they have decided to apply the same stipulation to the Corbet Lough carpark.

With this decision taking precedence angling therefore CANNOT take place until 27 May at the earliest at Corbet Lough as parking on the main Castlewellan Road will not be permitted by the PSNI in the interests of Public safety and as I am sure you will appreciate walking to Corbet Lough is not an option for most of our members.

Therefore it is not possible to re-open the Corbet Lough on Monday 18 May. The Club understands your frustrations and appreciates your understanding and patience for another week.

Angling on the River Bann can of course take place from Monday 18 May.

A further announcement from the Club will be made prior to reopening.