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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 20:03 GMT 21:03 UK
Anglers' heaven after great escape
The salmon is rich pickings for anglers
The salmon is rich pickings for anglers
Anglers on the County Antrim coast are enjoying salmon for breakfast, dinner and tea after thousands of fish escaped from an offshore farm.

The shoal escaped from the Northern Salmon Company in Glenarm Bay, but it is not known how many got away.

Anglers started reeling them in at first light on Wednesday morning.

Freezers were being stocked up with the escaped fish, with salmon on the menu for months to come.

One boy said: "There are lots of fish. There are big shoals of them, they come close to you. It's very easy to catch them."

Many anglers gathered to catch the salmon
Many anglers gathered to catch the salmon

Another keen angler said: "It's put Glenarm on the map. A good time had by all."

All day the crowds gathered for the rich pickings and some people said they had scooped huge numbers of salmon.

One boy even claimed to have caught 200 fish.

But by Wednesday afternoon some anglers had had enough, put off by the huge numbers of people trying to catch the salmon.

One man said he was "browned off".

He said: "Good fishing. Other than that, I'm cheesed off now. Far too many people fishing it."

Another keen angler said: "I wouldn't snatch at all. If I couldn't get the thing fair, I wouldn't even think about it."

Rising tide

On Wednesday evening the authorities arrived in Glenarm and were determined to protect the fish which were left.

Brian Finn of the Fisheries Conservancy Board said there was illegal activity going on.

"We have some licensed anglers who are enjoying a day's fishing using conventional means," he said.

"But others are using illegal means to capture salmon. We can't let this go ahead.

"It's very bad publicity for one to watch this sort of snatching activity going on."

By Wednesday evening even more salmon were coming up the estuary with the rising tide.

Those that survive the angling onslaught are likely be netted and returned to the cages off-shore.

BBC NI's agriculture correspondent Martin Cassidy
"It's salmon for dinner, lunch and snacks for months to come"
See also:

06 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Salmon tagging scheme criticised
27 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Criticism floods in over rivers
08 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Pollution threat to NI salmon
21 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Crown immunity queried over pollution
10 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Investigation after fish kill
01 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Wild salmon face numbers crisis: WWF
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