Photograph shows the Quoile Barrier and Fish Grills where the seals are gaining access to the river.

Seals operating from Strangford Lough appear to be outwitting the combined efforts of the Downpatrick Green Party, local anglers and the Department of Agriculture in evading the fish grills on the Quoile barrier.

The Fish Grills were originally damaged by contact through contact with boats on Strangford Lough. They are designed to let fish through while keeping the seals out.

DOWN Councillor Cadogan Enright thanked the N.I Minister of Agriculture Michelle Gildernew and her team for their assistance over the last 18 months in fixing the broken fish pass on the Quoile estuary barrier and also acknowledged the great assistance from Green Party Agricultural Minister Trevor Sargent in bringing pressure to have this project bought forward.

Local Angler spokesperson Trevor Love said “The broken fish grill allowed seals to swim up the Quoile and devastate the fish population in the lower part of the river. We appreciate the 18 months of effort by Cllr Cadogan Enright and Green Party Minister Trevor Sargent in bringing pressure to bear on the NI Ministry of Agriculture to have the fish grill repaired.”

Downpatrick Friends of the Earth spokesperson Keith Bradford said, “Unfortunately the good work of the Green Party in tackling this issue over the last 18 months appears to have been undone by some very clever seals who appear to have learned the trick of swimming through the barrier on the ebb tide to get around the new fish grill, and this appears to be made possible by a fault in the tidal barrier.”

The Green Party Cllr Cadogan Enright said “We have urgently been contacting the Department of Agriculture again on what appears to be a failure in the working of the tidal barrier – and have published pictures of what we think is the fault on our website at – and are hoping to have this matter investigated as soon as possible.”

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