Hello Mr Hanlon
As always, I read your posts on this subject with interest in respect. Not least because I could see you know how to skin and cook an eel. My grand uncle on the Antrim shore was similarly adept and felt strongly against the licensing system. Unfortunately, the Irish News website doesn't hold the new item you mention, and requires an expensive subscription to search its archive.
I have looked elsewhere and see that the issues facing Lough Neagh fishing have been the subject of an Inquiry by the Northern Irish Assembly (in which all shades of politics participate when the Assembly is not in suspenstion!) It would seem from its report that natural eel stocks in the lough are at present in serious decline due partly to eel disease infestions spreading in Europe generally which is affecting both markets, stocks, and limits and catches. If true, this would possibly account for lack of current profitability and share dividend.
Once again, I must say that I personally have no knowledge of the present situation. But I suspect the issues have moved from absentee landlordism, even though these may, as you say, persist. I attach a link to the detailed NI Assembly Inquiry evidence summary. http://www.ni-assembly.gov.uk/culture/reports/report2-00r5.htm