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Start date: Sep 30, 2008, End date: Jun 29, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project will drive the development of marine tourism, water based leisure and angling as tourism products in the Foyle and Carlingford sea areas and inland water catchments.The project aim is to develop and promote marine tourism, water based leisure, angling tourism and recreational angling in the Foyle and Carlingford systems. The project proposal complements the Loughs Agencys Mission Statement, specifically with regard to the recreational fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford areas:-The Loughs 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. (Loughs Agency mission statement). Achievements: The first projects to complete within the programme have awakened interest in the marine tourism potential of Derry~Londonderry and other parts of Foyle waters. The marine event platform (or pontoon) and the non-freight ship quay provide infrastructure that will stimulate and foster the development of water based leisure and marine tourism on the River Foyle. These projects together comprise the Foyle Marina, a facility managed and operated by Foyle Port. In its first two years, this project has already enabled significant national and international events - including the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2012 and a yachting event in conjunction with the 2013 all-Ireland traditional music festival (the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann). Such was the success of Clipper 2012 that the organisers will bring their fleet back to the Foyle in 2014… and again in 2016!In recognition of the significant impact of the construction of the Foyle Marina, the facility won the accolade of Best Tourism Initiative in the 2013 Chamber of Commerce business awards. The development of the walking trail at Malin Head is timely, meshing with the current development of the Wild Atlantic Way tourism concept. Malin Head is at one end of this strategic driving route. This iconic visitor attraction (the most northerly point on the Irish mainland) is now more conveniently reached thanks to the vehicle passing places provided along the narrow access road. Donegal County Council has secured the support of landowners to develop a walking trail along the scenic coastline with views along the Atlantic coast land and out to sea to the remote Atlantic islands of Tory, and Inishtrahull and the Garvan Isles. The Loughs Agency is working in partnership with Limavady Borough Council to develop visitor facilities at the spectacular sweep of several miles of beach at Benone in the northwest of County Londonderry. This Beach Activity Centre will cater for the range of beach users – kite surfers, walkers, bathers, surfers, families etc.The Loughs Agency is currently implementing projects to enhance habitat and develop angling infrastructure for anglers at three sites. One project is being delivered on the River Strule in partnership with Omagh Anglers Association. The other projects are located along the tidal River Foyle, a river where Loughs Agency manages the fishing. The Agency aspires to establish these sites as centres of excellence for game angling. The Loughs Agency has formed a partnership with Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Inland Fisheries Ireland. This brings together the three fishery authorities on the island of Ireland in a cross border initiative that will consider opportunities for simplifying the management of angling and explore options for online license sales. In delivering the INTERREG IVA funded package, the Loughs Agency has established a dynamic and fruitful cross-border partnership that spans the island of Ireland. In developing the suite of projects, formal linkages have been put in place with the local authorities of Strabane, Derry, Limavady, Donegal, Louth and Newry and Mourne, as well as with the Port of Londonderry, Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Inland Fisheries Ireland. Completed in 2012, the INTERREG IVA funded Foyle Marina provides substantial berthing capacity for a gamut of vessels - canoe, kayak, sailing dinghy, yacht, cruiser, naval ships, tall ships and cruise ships. Engagement with all local stakeholders, including those in the Republic of Ireland segment of the Foyle area, has helped promote the facilities across the marine tourism industry.The Foyle Marina, has hosted Foyle Sailability, a cross border initiative to provide opportunities to people with disabilities to get involved in sailing and other boating activities. Foyle Sailability ran a two-day event at the Foyle Marina last summer. The safety coordinator for the event, Seamus Bovaird of Moville Boat Club, praised the facility, saying, While we expected this to be a learning curve in terms of access and safety of access, the Foyle Marina proved a great facility from which to run our event. The marina has also enabled Sailing in the City to take place. This was an initiative that let people experience sailing on the River Foyle right in the heart of the city. Initial evaluation points to a most satisfying immediate impact. In its first 6 months of operation, the new pontoon attracted 53 vessels carrying 400 passengers and hosted 5 marine events that brought literally thousands of visitors and participants onto the water. This is without consideration of the strategic role of the pontoon and quay as the focal point for the massively successful Clipper Festival, estimated at attracting over 200,000 people to the banks of the Foyle in June 2012. Jonathan Levy (a director with Clipper Ventures) praised the Foyle Marina as, "... one of the best facilities that we visited during the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race", pointing out that ".... its availability was a key factor in bringing the Clipper Race to Derry-Londonderry". The Clipper organisation emphasises the social impact, as well, observing that events attracted will play a part in building a strong sailing legacy for the people of the city and surrounding areas.
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