#Angling - Two Cork brothers have been convicted of stroke hauling a salmon last August in breach of Section 170 (1) of the 1959 Fisheries Act last August.
At a sitting of Clonakilty District Court on 3 January, Judge David Waters imposed fines of €750 and costs of €500 each on Niall and Lawrence Fitzpatrick over the incident at Goose Pond on the Argideen River in Co Cork on 1 August 2016.
The charges had been vigorously contested by the brothers, but Judge Waters convicted the men and remarked upon the “unwarranted and unfounded allegations” made against Inland Fisheries Ireland’s fisheries officers who gave evidence in court.
The brothers had accused the fisheries officers of lying to the court, claiming that they had caught the salmon by fly fishing and that the fish had “swallowed the hook”.
After hearing evidence from the fisheries officers in regard to marks on the fish, Judge Waters was satisfied that the fish had in fact been stroke hauled, a mechanism by which a weighted instrument or device is used to foul-hook the fish.
Sean Long, director of the South West River Basin District, said following the verdict: “Ireland’s wild indigenous fish populations must be protected and conserved for future generations. This is an extremely valuable resource which makes a significant economic contribution to the local economy through angling tourism.
“This court case sends a clear message that illegal fishing activity will not be tolerated in Cork. Our fisheries officers are committed to protecting this resource for the public through overt and covert surveillance operations and we will continue to hold those who carry out illegal activity, which damages our resource, accountable.”
Minister of State Seán Kyne said the move was made to help replenish and conserve stocks in the Wicklow and Wexford river, where worms for bait and barbed hooks have also been prohibited for the coming year.
But Slaney River Trust members have hit out at the ban, suggesting that the absence of even catch-and-release fishing for salmon will see angling numbers decline and encourage poaching on what’s a significant resource for the South East.
73 rivers have been approved to open for salmon angling this year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie — though that figure is nine fewer than those opened to full angling or catch-and-release in 2016.
The Gorey Guardian has more on the story HERE.
#Angling - A Mayo man has been convicted of obstructing a fisheries officer and failing to produce a salmon licence over an incident on the River Moy.
At a sitting of Castlebar District Court on 3 January, Judge Mary Devins imposed fines totalling €600 on David Egan of Claremorris.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) brought the case against Egan when he was found fishing a section of the Cloongee Fishery on the River Moy in the Pollagh area and was not in possession of a valid permit or salmon angling licence.
Solicitor Dermot Hewson, acting on behalf of IFI, outlined the facts of the case against Egan and his refusal to hand over his fishing gear. No defence was offered by Egan, who pleaded guilty to both charges.
IFI’s ownership of the fishing rights on the Pollagh section of the Cloongee Fishery, near Foxford, was disputed previously but was confirmed at a special sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court in 2012.
The fishery was purchased from the private owners by the former North Western Regional Fisheries Board on behalf of the State in 2005.
IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “The regulation of angling on the River Moy is imperative if we are to effectively conserve and protect this valuable resource.
“Incidents of obstruction of Fisheries Officers have become quite common and this court case sends a clear message that this will not be tolerated.
Dr Byrne added that the Cloongee Fishery “is well known as a very productive salmon fishery and Inland Fisheries Ireland has ensured that permits are available locally at a reasonable cost. The fisheries resource offers huge value from both a recreational and economic perspective to the local community.
“Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue to apprehend those who carry out illegal fishing activity.”
The planned project, much like the withdrawn proposal for Galway Bay for an even larger-scale fish farm, has faced opposition from local anglers and conservationists, who have lambasted the €216,000 spend — on an environmental study, legal advice and communications consultancy — as a ‘waste’ of taxpayers’ money.
“It is appalling that BIM has wasted more than €216,000 on a salmon farm licence application for Inishturk when it should be the salmon farm operator who is required to apply,” said Billy Smyth of lobby group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.
At a sitting of Kilrush District Court on 11th April 2016, Judge Patrick Durkan convicted a man of illegal netting for salmon on the Shannon Estuary. Mr John Beehan with an address at Burrane, Kilimer, Co Clare, was fined €500 in addition to costs amounting to €500.
Judge Durkan heard evidence that while carrying out surveillance on an area near Kilimer, Co Clare in June 2015, fishery officers observed Mr Beehan to be in control of a fishing net which had two salmon caught in it. The officers gave evidence and were cross-examined. Mr Beehan’s defence was that he had been curious to see what was going on in the area as he had seen an unfamiliar car and he denied that the fishing net was his.
In summarising his judgement on the case, Judge Durkan said that he was satisfied that there was a case to answer. He added that the motor car was very important in the defence of “taking a look” and the reason for this could only be that the car had a boot.
Ms Amanda Mooney, Director at Inland Fisheries Ireland, Limerick, commented: “Netting for salmon in the Shannon Estuary is prohibited. Such illegal fishing is an environmental crime and is a contributing factor to the decline of Ireland’s vulnerable salmon stocks.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.
Joe Ahern of O’Brien’s Bridge, Co Limerick was found guilty of illegally fishing with prawns and was fined €750 and costs amounting to €1025. Ahern pleaded guilty to the offence and co-operated fully with the fishery officers.
Salmon angling on the River Shannon is currently permitted below O’Brien’s Bridge to Thomond Bridge in Limerick City under a local catch and release byelaw. Wild salmon must be returned immediately if caught and the use of prawns is prohibited under byelaw in the entire Shannon catchment.
These measures are present to protect returning wild salmon stocks, especially to large river catchments such as the River Shannon. The wild salmon populations in the Shannon River have declined in recent years.
In summarising his judgement on the case, Judge Patrick Durkan commented that fisheries were the greatest resource of this country and that fishery officers must be allowed to protect them.
Amanda Mooney, sirector at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in Limerick, said: “Anglers must adhere to conservation methods in place on our rivers as these measures are introduced to protect vulnerable stocks and provide an opportunity for rivers to recover.
"We need to work together to improve our stocks so that the wonderful resource can be passed onto the next generation. Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to the protection of our wild salmon stocks.”
IFI has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.
The main purpose of these statistics is to give an overview of the DCAL fisheries sector in Northern Ireland. The latest available data have been drawn together from a number of published and unpublished sources.
Some key statistics from the report include the following:
- There were 25,667 angling licences and 17,984 DCAL permits sold in 2014.
- 1,024 rod licences and 1,013 permits were checked in the DCAL public angling estate in 2014/15.
- There were approximately 361,000 salmon fry stocked from Bushmills Hatchery to rivers in Northern Ireland in 2014.
- No salmon were caught in commercial fishing nets in 2014.
- The estimated return of wild adult salmon to the River Bush in 2014 was 963 and was below the previous 10-year average (2004-2013) of 1,239.
- The 10-year overall eel catch average in Lough Neagh (2005-2014) of 399 tonnes is 35% less than the previous ten year eel catch average (1995-2004) of 612 tonnes.
- The eel escapement estimate for the Neagh-Bann River Basin District for 2014 was 253 tonnes and above the 200 tonnes target.
The bulletin is available on the DCAL website or from the Research and Statistics Branch, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7EG (Tel: 028 9081 6971; Email: [email protected]).
In other news, Northern Ireland's Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed a new platform designed to accommodate disabled anglers at Copeland Reservoir in Carrickfergus.
The concrete platform is built to a high specification and gives anglers who use wheelchairs close and safe access to the water.
“Angling is an integral part of our leisure offering not only for local people, but also for tourists," said the minister this week. "It is a very relaxing and peaceful way of passing time and unwinding in the open air, and I am committed to ensuring that wheelchair users have equal access to angling."
Minister Ní Chuilín said the new platform "is designed to ensure that wheelchair-using anglers can get as close as possible to the water’s edge, safely. There is also a car park located right beside it, further enhancing accessibility.
“There is a considerable disabled angling fraternity locally, with over 1,700 one-year disabled angling licences and 1,500 day permits being issued each year. This is a significant number, and I want to see even more disabled people experiencing the benefits of angling for themselves."
The new stand "offers disabled anglers another choice of location to fish, and visit the surrounding area. It brings to more than 30 the number of public angling estate locations which are accessible to anglers with a disability," the minister added.
“I commend staff in my department’s Inland Fisheries Group who have constructed the platform and I hope that it caters for disabled anglers for many years to come.”
Application forms may be obtained from your local Inland Fisheries Ireland Office as listed here:
IFI Dublin 01 884 2600
IFI Clonmel 052 618 0055
IFI Macroom 026 41221
IFI Limerick 061 300 238
IFI Galway 091 563 118
IFI Ballina 096 22788
IFI Ballyshannon 071 985 1435
The statutory closing date for receipt of completed applications to the relevant IFI office is 5pm on Thursday 24 March. Applications received after this date cannot be accepted.
And it was a first for Lough Currane as angling guide Neil O'Shea landed 2016's maiden salmon catch nationally, a 10-pounder taken near 'The Bridge'.
However, it marks the third time O'Shea has been the first of the year to catch a salmon on the lough, previously claiming that title in 2009 and 1986.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#Pollution - The effects of diesel laundering over decades in South Armagh are being felt even greater today, say Dundalk anglers, as the New Year starts with the River Fane closed to all but catch-and-release fishing.
As Independent.ie reports, a 10-fold decrease in stocks of salmon as well as brown trout and sea trout in the river, which flows into Dundalk Bay from the Monaghan-Armagh border, is the direct result of diesel laundering operations by the IRA since at least the 1980s.
Waste from the process of converting subsidised agricultural 'green' diesel to 'white' diesel for general road use has reportedly been dumped openly into a tributary of Lough Ross, which feeds into the Fane – a river that supplies drinking water to Dundalk and much of North Louth.
A recent study found that these pollutants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs, the same chemicals that continue to affect spawning grounds in areas impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska 26 years ago.
Independent.ie has much more on the story HERE.