At a sitting of Galway and District Court on the 7th of February 2017, Judge Mary Fahy convicted Mr. Gerry Farragher of Rinnaharney, Annaghdown, Co. Galway, for the illegal use of a net to catch salmon, in breach of Section 96 of the Fisheries Act, 1959. Mr. Farragher pleaded guilty to the charge in court.
Solicitor Dioraí Ford, representing Inland Fisheries Ireland, outlined the facts of the case. Mr. Ford explained that Fisheries Officers had found the net in question on Lough Corrib at 3.10am on the night of the 5th of July, 2016. The officers lay in wait until 11.25am when Mr Farragher approached the area and serviced the net by wading from the shore to an island. On leaving the area he was apprehended by the Fisheries Officers on duty.
Mr. Farragher told the Judge that it was only a small bit of net on his own land however Judge Fahy disagreed, commenting that wild salmon are very scarce these days. She also pointed out that it would be cheaper to visit a restaurant to eat salmon rather than paying fines in court.
Judge Fahy heard that Mr. Farragher had been convicted and fined in 2014 for netting and taking salmon from the same area. Mr. Farragher confirmed that he had paid his previous fines, and the judge stated that if he persisted in this activity, a prison sentence would be considered if he appeared before the court again.
Mr. Farragher was fined €500 plus costs of €600 and given six months to pay while the net in question was forfeited.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Lough Corrib is one of Ireland’s renowned angling destinations, known for its wild brown trout and salmon fishing. It is a shame to see individuals continuing to illegally fish the area, an action which is essentially an environmental crime.
We are delighted with the outcome of this case which highlights that those who are caught will be held accountable. Our Fisheries Officers patrol the waterways in overt and covert operations with a view to protecting the wild fish populations in this area.”