Mr Haughey, who lives in Belfast, was a leading figure in a conservation breakthrough aimed at restoring wild salmon stocks in Northern Ireland. He is also the chairman of the Ulster Angling Federation.
The project he led won the backing of the Northern Ireland government and the support of most leading private sector stakeholders. It brought about the first major salmon agreement in Ireland in which commercial netsmen all along the coast of Northern Ireland volunteered to cease harvesting wild salmon in order to rebuild salmon stocks.
Mr Haughey’s groups raised considerable funds to match Government funding and provide the necessary compensation package. He was able to persuade most of the region’s angling clubs and other interest groups to come to the negotiating table and this created the framework that led to the successful and amicable outcome.
Thanks to his distinguished background as an engineer and his experience in working with grassroots organisations he was particularly fitted to assess the data and develop sensible strategies. In guiding his colleagues and associates on how best to pursue the objectives and set the right priorities he was able to deploy convincing arguments that clearly set out the benefits that an agreement would bring for Irish salmon and for the public.
Mr. Haughey has also been a leading player in the NASF’s international coalition of voluntary private sector groups who have joined together to bring about a general restoration of all wild Atlantic salmon stocks. Despite the need to concentrate on the Irish project he has acted as an admirable advocate of the economic benefits that a general restoration of wild salmon numbers would offer. About 85% of all salmon netsmen on both sides of the Atlantic have now signed up to commercial conservation agreements of the kind that Jim Haughey has worked so hard to achieve.
Orri Vigfússon, NASF Chairman in Reykjavik said: “ It has been an honour to work with Jim for almost twenty years. He did an amazing job in bringing so many people together of all political persuasions to negotiate despite the political turmoil that gripped Northern Ireland for so long. Like all the people who form the backbone of our organisation Jim works for us on a purely voluntary basis. This is a cornerstone of our organization.”
“There is still work to be done and Mr Haughey seems to spend longer hours every day helping us reach our great goal of a better future for the wild salmon resource. His award is richly deserved”.