At Navan District Court on 28 May, David Tuite of Drogheda, Co Louth was fined €400 for impeding an IFI authorised officer and ordered to pay total costs of €683 to IFI within six months, with 40 days imprisonment in default of payment.
Meanwhile, John O’Brien, also of Drogheda, was fined €800 for impeding an IFI authorised officer and ordered to pay costs of €683 to the IFI within six months, with 50 days imprisonment in default of payment.
The court heard that after midnight on 8 August 2013, fisheries officers Kevin O’Brien, Val Woods, Robert Bergin and Philip Duff from the Drogheda district were undertaking a covert surveillance operation following reports of illegal fishing at Proudfootstown, Co Meath.
They detected a number of men including David Tuite and John O’Brien who were acting suspiciously on the River Boyne and who were suspected of attempting to take fish illegally.
When intercepted by IFI staff, one of the men impeded the officers by throwing a bag he was carrying into the river, while the second man attempted to run away and refused to give his name when required to do so by the officers.
Both men were present at Navan District Court and pleaded guilty to impeding authorised officers in carrying out their duties in the execution of powers under Section 301 (7) of the 1959 Fisheries Consolidation Act.
Judge Conal Gibbons was very forceful in his support of the actions of IFI staff on the night in question. He stated that fisheries officers carry out difficult work in difficult places at unsociable hours.
He commended the work of officers O’Brien, Woods, Bergin and Duff, and stated that people should not interfere with the work of fisheries officers in the execution of their duties.
The River Boyne was one of the most salmon-prolific rivers on the East Coast, and in the 1980s approximately 10,000 salmon ran the system. This declined to an all-time low in 2006 when less than 1,000 salmon were caught on the river.
In 2006, IFI introduced a series of conservation measures in order to combat the decline in salmon numbers. The River Boyne is open for catch and release angling in an effort to conserve our native population of Atlantic salmon.
IFI has a Freefone number for the public to report poaching and pollution incidents at 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.