The name Loughs Agency refers to the fact that the body has a remit that covers the water catchment areas of the two sea loughs of Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.
The Loughs Agency is an agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC), established as one of the cross-border bodies under the 1998 Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Ireland. The Agency aims to provide sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.
The Loughs Agency is one of six North / South Implementation Bodies set up under the Belfast Agreement. It operates across both jurisdictions (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) and is a key body in the management and conservation of fisheries in the Foyle and Carlingford areas.
The Agency has a number of strategic and operational functions which are set out in the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (NI) Order 1999, the British-Irish Agreement Act 1999, the Foyle Fisheries Act (NI) 1952 (as amended) and the Foyle Fisheries Act 1952 (as amended). Under the Agreement, the Agency took over the fisheries protection functions of the Foyle Fisheries Commission and was given both an additional cross-border operational area in Carlingford and the additional functions of developing aquaculture and marine tourism. Importantly, for the development of this plan a key role of the Agency is in the “Promotion of development of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough for commercial and recreational purposes in respect of marine, fishery and aquaculture matters”.
While the function of the Agency is “to promote the development of the Loughs”, the Agency does not see this function in the narrow sense of promotion by means of publicity and information alone. A dictionary definition of the word “promote” includes the narrow meaning of the word, but also wider meanings including-
- Support or encourage: to encourage the growth and development of something
- Advance something: to further something by helping to arrange or introduce it
The Agency regards its duty to promote the development of the Loughs as falling into this wider definition of being responsible for advancing the development of the Loughs and being the body required by statute to arrange that advancement by whatever means are appropriate and effective.
The governing legislation confers the following specific functions on the Agency:
- The promotion of development of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough for commercial and recreational purposes in respect of marine, fishery and aquaculture matters;
- The management, conservation, protection, improvement and development of the inland fisheries of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas;
- The development and licensing of aquaculture; and
- The development of marine tourism