History

Once there were salmon fisheries everywhere along the North Coast but times change and today there are only two left.

Catches are reduced to two or three salmon per week and the years of commercial fishing are long gone. Carrick-a-Rede is one of the places of this lost industry.

    The early years

    Carrick-a-Rede salmon fishery in 1880

    Atlantic salmon has been fished at Carrick-a-Rede and Larrybane since 1620. But it was not until 1755 that the first rope bridge between the mainland and Carrick-a-Rede Island was erected to reduce reliance on a boat to reach the island.

    A flourishing industry

    atlantic salmon

    In the 19th-century more than 80 fishers, 21 salmon fishers and 10 fish carriers were working in the parish of Ballintoy. Catches of up to 300 salmon a day were common until the 1960s.

    Vanishing fish

    Fishermen at Carrick-a-Rede

    The years of salmon fishing are now just a memory. Fishing pressure at sea and river pollution led to a decline in salmon. In 2002 the last fish was caught at Carrick-a-Rede.

    The last fisherman

    Fishermen at Carrick-a-Rede

    Aki, the last fisherman at Carrick-a-Rede took over the licence when his uncle retired and worked there for over 25 years, leaving in 2002 when co-workers were hard to come by. This fishery needs four men to work it and it’s hard, heavy work no longer particularly profitable and definitely more difficult than anyone nowadays wants to do.