Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

Inland Waterways & Fisheries

Photograph of barge on canal


We are committed to developing the recreational potential of inland waterways through our Province-wide Water Recreation Programme.

Applicants, such as Local Authorities, are encouraged to work in partnership with the Department in providing and promoting water recreation facilities such as riverside paths and boat moorings for public use. Wherever practicable, works will incorporate disabled access facilities.

The Department also has ownership of, and custodial responsibility for, those remaining sections of the Lagan and Coalisland Canals that remain in Government ownership following abandonment of navigation in the 1950s. An ongoing programme is in place for each of these highly popular towpaths to upgrade access for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled access.

The Department is also the sponsor department in Northern Ireland for Waterways IrelandOpens new window which is the Cross-Border Body responsible for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of operational waterways throughout the island of Ireland


We are responsible, under the provisions of the Fisheries Act (NI) 1966, for the salmon and inland fisheries of Northern Ireland and provide advice and guidance on matters relating to the conservation, protection, development and improvement of salmon and inland fisheries to angling clubs, fishery owners, and a range of other water users and interested parties.

Public Angling Estate: The Department has the power under the Fisheries Act (NI) 1966 to acquire and improve facilities for angling for local and visiting anglers. The total number of fisheries available to the public is 63. The Public Angling Estate includes excellent salmon and wild brown trout angling, with some providing exclusive beat fishing. There are specialist pike fisheries, or competition and leisure anglers may prefer the world-class fishing for bream and roach where bags up to 60 kg are regularly taken. The Department has responsibility for the conservation and protection of the salmon and inland fisheries in Northern Ireland other than those in the Londonderry and Newry areas.

Conservation and Protection: DCAL and cooperation with Loughs Agency and NIEA, aims to ensure sustainable management of the fishery resource. Priority areas currently are conservation and protection of salmon.

Visit the Departments Angling Website : Angling Waters in Northern IrelandOpens new window

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