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Eel Fishery

Lough Neagh is Europe's main commercial eel fishery with 700 tonnes caught every year. Of this, 150 tonnes of mature Silver Eels are caught in autumn and early winter at eel weirs at Toome and here at Kilrea. The Earl of Donegal was granted rights to fish for eels by Charles 1, but the rights were purchased by a Dutch company in 1963. In 1971 a co-operative society bought out the shareholders and they now control eel fishing in Lough Neagh and the Lower Bann. At the height of the fishing season, 7 tonnes of eels are flown to Holland every day.