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Displaying items by tag: Courts

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has appealed to landowners to consult with it before carrying out works on or near watercourses after a Longford man was fined or disturbance of spawning beds.

Colm Ginty from Dunbeggan, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford was convicted and fined €1,000 and ordered to pay a further €1,727.91 towards costs and expenses at Longford District Court on 12 April following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Judge Bernie Owens convicted Ginty under Section 173(1)(d) Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for carrying out works on the Aughnacliffe River on 30 June 2021 that involved the removal of a substantial amount of gravel from the channel of the river and causing the destabilisation of the bank.

These works were carried out in an area of spawning habitat for wild brown trout and disturbed and injured sensitive spawning beds and bank where the spawn or fry of trout may be.

The court heard evidence from senior fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane as to the adverse impacts caused by the actions, which occurred along a 90-metre section of the river.

Keane also outlined the negative long-term impacts that the works would have on the lifecycle of the brown trout for years to come.

She explained that IFI staff frequently consult with farmers who want to carry out works in rivers and outline the way works should be carried out to avoid potential damage to fish life.

The Aughnacliffe River is a tributary of the Erne River Catchment which contains a prime spawning habitat for wild brown trout.

Milton Matthews, director of the North West River Basin District at IFI said: “Unauthorised and unplanned instream works put undue pressure on our native fish stocks through loss or degradation of fisheries habitat and spawning areas.

“It is a landowner's responsibility to get in contact with their agricultural advisor or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works in or along on watercourses. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary and damaging impact to fisheries habitat and may be liable to prosecution.”

Published in Angling

A Cork city man convicted of strokehauling salmon received a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years at a sitting of Cork District Court on Tuesday 17 May.

Shane Heaphy (27) of Templeacre Avenue, Gurranabraher pleaded guilty to committing four fisheries offences on the River Lee on 25 July 2020.

The court heard evidence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) protection officers that Heaphy entered upon a several (private) fishery at the Cork Waterworks weir on 25 July to strokehaul salmon.

Strokehauling is an illegal method of catching fish that involves ripping weighted hooks along the flank of a fish to try and impale it and causes horrific injuries to the fish.

Judge Marian O’Leary, hearing that Heaphy had previous convictions for strokehauling, responded by stating that “strokehauling was cruel” and that the court took a “dim view” of the practice.

Heaphy was also convicted of possession of a fishing rod and line, fishing within 50 yards of the downstream face of the weir and using a strokehaul. He was fined €300 and ordered to pay €350 in expenses.

IFI director of the South West River Basin District, Sean Long welcomed the judges’ comments: “The practice of strokehauling is barbaric and fuelled by a small black-market for illegally caught fish.

“We will not tolerate any kind of illegal fishing and our protection staff carry out covert and overt operations to safeguard our fisheries resource.

“Anglers and members of the general public are urged to report illegal fishing to IFI in confidence through our 24-hour hotline number 0818 347 424.”

IFI reminds the public that angling is prohibited in the Waterworks Powerhouse area under the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Article 4 of the River Lee (Cork Waterworks Weir) By-Law No.453 of 1943.

Published in Angling

Two men have been convicted for being in the possession of illegally caught salmon on the River Fergus in Ennis, Co Clare and were ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Gerard Considine and Niall Considine, cousins with an address of Clarecastle, Co Clare, received a fine of €200 and costs of €471 each following their conviction at Ennis District Court on Friday 22 April by Judge Bernadette Owens.

IFI fisheries officers gave evidence in relation to the offence which occurred on 1 July 2021.

They outlined the facts of the case to the court of how both men had been apprehended following a night-time surveillance operation in the area after suspicious activity had been detected.

The men were found to be in possession of eight salmon illegally caught from the River Fergus in Ennis.

David McInerney, director of the Shannon River Basin District at IFI said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland has no tolerance for illegal fishing. Atlantic salmon stocks are in decline and need to be protected. Illegal fishing puts the already diminished stocks in further jeopardy.

“The river Fergus and the entire River Shannon catchment is closed for the harvesting of salmon due to the poor level of salmon stocks in the river.

“We appeal to the general public to report suspected instances of illegal fishing to IFI’s confidential 24/7 hotline number on 0818 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling

A Kilrush man has been convicted of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to a fisheries officer following an incident on the Shannon Estuary in the summer of 2020.

At a sitting in Ennis of Kilrush District Court on Tuesday 8 February, John Linnane was convicted under Section 5 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act over the incident occurred during an investigation by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) into illegal fishing for wild salmon on 1 June 2020.

At Kilrush District Court, Judge Larkin imposed a two-month suspended sentence and 100 hours of community service on Linnane, pending on the outcome of a probation report.

At an earlier court sitting in November 2021, Linnane pleaded guilty to illegal fishing for wild salmon on the same date (1 June 2020) on the Shannon Estuary in Co Clare. Linnane is awaiting sentencing for this conviction.

Speaking after this week’s conviction, David McInerney, director of the Shannon River Basin District, said: “Threatening to kill or cause serious harm to an officer of the State is a very serious issue and Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to thank An Garda Síochána for their help in bringing this case before the courts.

“Fisheries officers are charged with the protection of valuable and often threatened fish stocks and this work is essential to ensure the protection of Ireland’s native fish species.

“We have to remember that the River Shannon is closed to salmon fishing because salmon stocks are significantly below levels that maintain a healthy, sustainable population.”

To report suspicions of illegal fishing, members of the public are encouraged to call IFI’s new confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Published in Angling

Irish Water has admitted multiple counts over a pollution event that threatened vulnerable freshwater pearl mussels in a Co Cork river, as The Irish Times reports.

The water utility pleaded guilty to eight counts of breaching is licence terms in connection with highly elevated levels of ammonia and orthophosphate in run-off from a treatment plant in Boherbue, in the northwest of the county.

The case was brought by the Environmental Protection Agency, who gave evidence to the court on the status of the rare mussels in the protected conservation area of the Brogeen River.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed that it is seeking a judicial review into the granting of an aquaculture licence for Atlantic salmon at in Bantry Bay.

As the matter is due before the High Court tomorrow, Tuesday 28 September, and the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats says “it will not be possible…to make any further comments at this stage in the process”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a licence was granted by the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board this summer — following a protracted appeals process over several years — to Mowi Ireland for an 18-pen facility at Shot Head in Co Cork.

Published in Aquaculture

Two men in Dundalk have been convicted of illegally killing pike and have been ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Ernestas Gaska, with an address on Riverside Drive, received a €300 fine following his conviction at Dundalk District Court on Thursday 2 September.

Also in Dundalk District Court on the same date, Arturas Bagvilas, with an address on Bothair Na Carraig, received a €300 fine following his own conviction.

IFI fisheries officers — who had been on routine patrol in the area of Drumcah Lough, some 8km west of Dundalk — outlined the facts of the case before Judge Eirinn McKiernan of how Gaska and Bagvilas had been observed in the act of illegal fishing on the lake, taking and killing pike on Sunday 11 October 2020.

The pair’s boat was seized and as a statutory consequence of their conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the vessel is now automatically forfeited.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in 2020, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019.

It also seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before.

Published in Angling

Two people have been fined and sentenced to prison for illegal netting of salmon on the River Barrow last summer in prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Michael Malone, of Taghmon, Co Wexford, received a sentence of five months’ imprisonment and a €2,000 fine and was ordered to pay €1,245 in court costs at Kilkenny District Court on Monday 12 July.

Also in Kilkenny District Court on the same date, James Malone, with an address in Graiguenamangh, Co Kilkenny, received a sentence of three months’ imprisonment and a €1,500 fine and was ordered to pay €1,245 in court costs.

The court heard from IFI how both men had been observed in the act of illegal netting on the River Barrow, attempting to capture salmon.

As a statutory consequence of the conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the boat that was seized by IFO is now automatically forfeited.

The breaches of Fisheries legislation occurred on 21 July 2020 on the River Barrow, in the townland of Bauck, Co Carlow and Kilconnelly, Co Kilkenny.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Brian O’Shea, who proceeded to convict the defendants on all charges under Section 96, 97, 65 and 285A of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959. The case has been appealed to the Circuit Court.

IFI recently revealed that a total of 250 illegal fishing nets, measuring 13,158 metres in total, were among the 1,287 items seized by the agency on its patrols and inspections in 2020, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Angling

A Cork man has been jailed for four months on three charges including assault on a fisheries officer.

Jason Callaghan, with an address on Lower Barrack Street, was convicted by Judge Brian O’Shea at a special sitting of Midleton District Court on Tuesday 27 April.

The court was told how officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had observed Callaghan illegally fishing with two other men in the Owenacurra River at the Cork Road Bridge in Midleton on the afternoon of Sunday 21 July 2019.

At the time, the river was closed to angling for the protection and conservation of salmon and sea trout stocks.

The court heard Callaghan fled the scene when approached by fisheries officers. He was then pursued from the river to the town centre where he assaulted a fisheries officer with the metal end of a fishing rod, injuring the officer and causing him to fall to the ground.

The assault was witnessed by a plain-clothes garda attending the incident. The garda also gave evidence during the hearing which lasted for several hours.

Judge O’Shea fined Callaghan €500, handing him an additional two-month custodial sentence for use of a strokehaul. Callaghan was further convicted of impeding an authorised officer and was given a four-month custodial sentence for assaulting an authorised officer, to run concurrent with the two-month sentence.

Callaghan, who had previous fisheries convictions, fully contested the charges and gave evidence to the court.

Kieran Ryan of Bishopstown and Calvin Morrissey of Carrignavar, who had been illegally fishing with Callaghan, were also convicted. Ryan received a two-month custodial sentence for use of a strokehaul and one month for impeding an authorised officer. Morrissey was convicted of use of a strokehaul and impeding an authorised officer and fined €500 on both counts.

All the charges were brought under the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.

Judge O’Shea rejected submissions from legal representatives for the three accused and stated that Callaghan had told lies in the witness box which he “expressly rejected”. He noted that there was “no hint of an apology and no remorse shown” by Callaghan or his co-defendants.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “The safety of our fisheries officers is of utmost importance to IFI. This was a reckless assault on an officer in broad daylight on a busy street which could have had significant consequences for a man simply trying to carry out his job.

“Thankfully, our staff member was back at work after a couple of days and able to continue protecting our fisheries resource.

“I hope these custodial sentences will give would-be offenders pause for thought. An assault on a fisheries officer is a severe matter and we will continue to prosecute offenders without exception.”

Published in Angling

A Clonmel man has been convicted on five charges including assaulting fisheries officers stemming from a poaching incident at Inniscarra Dam in May last year.

Officers of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had observed Craig Brew fishing in a prohibited area known as the ‘Flush’ at the face of the ESB dam on 23 May 2020.

Evidence was heard that Brew — who had travelled from Tipperary to Cork during the COVID-19 lockdown — had refused to cooperate and violently threatened and resisted the fisheries officers before gardaí arrived to assist.

Brew was convicted by Judge Marian O’Leary at Cork District Court on Wednesday 21 April and fined €500 for illegal entry upon the private fishery, €400 for obstructing the fisheries officers, €500 for assault and €300 for not having a Salmon Rod Ordinary Licence.

Judge O’Leary also fined the defendant €300 for using a vehicle to aid the commission of an offence and considered an ancillary disqualification for the use of the vehicle. Costs of €400 were awarded to IFI and an order for forfeiture of the fishing rods used was granted.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “The welfare of our Fisheries Officers is of foremost importance to IFI and that they can carry out their necessary work while ensuring their own personal safety. We are concerned at the level of threatening and aggressive behaviour towards fisheries officers in the area and on social media.

“While we are satisfied with the convictions in this case, an assault on a fisheries officer is a severe matter and offenders will be prosecuted without exception. I urge anglers and members of the public to report illegal fishing through IFI’s confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.”

Published in Angling
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