Two men were convicted of poaching offences at Tuam District Court on Tuesday, 12th of January 2016, following a surveillance operation by officers of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).
The two men, both from Boyounagh, Glenamaddy, were before the court on charges relating to an incident that occurred on 5th January 2015. Judge Geoffrey Browne heard evidence from the prosecuting solicitor, Mr Diorai Ford, that on the date in question Fishery Officers had observed the two men using a light to locate spawning salmon with a view to spearing them in a spawning stream of the Clare River. A search of the vehicle they were driving resulted in the seizure of additional high powered lamps and a fork specially modified with barbs to spear salmon.
Judge Browne convicted Ben Conneally of the illegal use of a spear, and fined him €200 with €350 costs. He also convicted Michael Collins of the illegal use of a light on the riverbank, and also fined him €200 with €350 costs. The Judge inquired had the two men caught any salmon on the night in question, and when informed they had not, he remarked that it would have been cheaper for them to go to a fish shop. He also ordered the forfeiture of the equipment seized on the night.
Commenting on the case, Dr John Conneely, Director of the Western River Basin District for IFI, said: “This case demonstrates that illegal fishing is not just a summer problem, and IFI’s protection personnel are on year-round patrol to deter such illegal activity. Salmon angling is extremely valuable to the tourism industry and provides revenue, employment to local communities, as well as recreation to thousands of local anglers around Ireland. Inland Fisheries Ireland will continue to work to protect this resource for the good of the community.”
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of IFI, commended the work of staff who brave the elements to protect the salmon and all inland fisheries resources. He stated: “In this era of reducing staff numbers and resources, IFI continues to protect, conserve, develop and promote fisheries. However, IFI’s ability to maintain its service is being eroded and I urge anglers and the public to report any incidences of poaching or pollution to the IFI 24 hour confidential hotline 1850 347424. A collaborative approach will ensure that local areas benefit from angling, both domestic and tourism, and jobs and communities in local areas are supported.”