#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has successfully prosecuted two men for taking more than the legal amount of coarse fish on Lough Derg.
Roman and Vytas Maslauskas, brothers originally from Lithuania but living in Ireland for the last eight years, appeared before Killaloe District Court where they were fined €500 each and were also disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of six months. Both men have two weeks within which to lodge an appeal.
Last year IFI fisheries officers carried out a surveillance operation on the basis of reports received from both the public and local anglers on Lough Derg. The Maslauskas brothers, who were fishing mainly for perch from a boat, were doing so in manner that did not appear to be for recreational purposes. The anglers were capturing large numbers of fish using rod and line but had the aid of a fish finder on board the boat also.
The two men were apprehended at the lower end of the lake at the slipway in Ballina. Their boat and a large quantity of fishing equipment were seized during the capture. Some 32 perch were also seized, of which eight were over the 25cm size limit for coarse fish. Two vans were used in the operation for transporting the fish and equipment.
In his comments at the end of the case, Judge John Durkan said: “Our inland waters are of the most valuable in Europe and need to be well protected”.
He added that those who abuse them must face serious consequences.
“Protecting our fisheries is never an easy task,” said Minister Fergus O’Dowd, minister with responsibility for inland fisheries, at the outcome of the prosecution. “I commend the work of the Inland Fisheries Ireland staff, the Gardaí and of course the anglers and members of the public who made this prosecution possible.
“Working together you have helped the environment and the potential of Lough Derg to generate a better return economically and socially to the local community.”
IFI describes Lough Derg as “a mixed fishery which holds good stocks of coarse, pike and trout” and “a valuable natural asset to the local economy as it attracts both national and international anglers and visitors”.
IFI Limerick director Amanda Mooney commented that the ruling “sends out a strong message that our wild fish populations must be protected. IFI have invested in multi-lingual angling guides which detail and explain coarse fish by-laws. There is no longer an excuse of not knowing what rules apply.”