#illegalfishing – Four men have been convicted of illegal fishing activities at two different sittings of Galway District Court on Tuesday, 1st July 2014. Judge Mary Fahy imposed fines and costs totally €4,900 to three brothers, Vidmantas Gaidys, Sigitas Gaidys and Alvydas Gaidys, convicted of illegal fishing activities; and John Costello was convicted of taking oysters illegally and fined €250, with costs of €300.
Vidmantas Gaidys, of 21 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, Galway was convicted of using a net illegally, obstruction of fishery officers, and possession of a salmon in breach of fisheries legislation. Sigitas Gaidys, of 9C Bayview Rise, Ballybane, and Alvydas Gaidys, of Farm House, Cloonbiggen Road, Claregalway, were both convicted of the illegal use of a net, and obstruction of fishery officers.
Judge Fahy heard evidence that on the night of 19th October, 2013, the three men were in a van which fishery officers stopped close to the Clare River at Montiagh North, Claregalway, Co Galway. Vidmantas Gaidys was apprehended, while the other two men fled on foot. When the van was searched, two bags containing 78 coarse fish and 1 salmon were discovered. The other two men were later identified and interviewed. All three admitted to using a net, and pleaded guilty in court.
Judge Fahy warned that using the vehicle in the course of the offence was a serious matter, and she told Mr. Gaidys that if he came before her for a similar offence she would disqualify him from driving for two years. Vidmantas Gaidys was fined €1,500 with costs of €600, while the other two defendants were each fined €800, with €600 costs.
Illegal Oyster Fishing
At a second sitting of Galway District Court on the 1st of July, Judge Mary Fahy convicted John Costello, of Ballinacourty, Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, of taking oysters illegally from Clarinbridge Bay.
Judge Fahy heard evidence that on 5th December, 2013, Mr. Costello was observed by Fishery Officer Lonan O'Farrell hand picking oysters at Carrowmore, Ballinacourty, Co. Galway. The only legal method of harvesting wild oysters is by licensed dredge, and hand picking is strictly illegal. Mr. Costello left a bag at the shoreline, and when this was searched it was found to contain 94 wild native oysters.
Judge Fahy commented that the native oyster was under threat in many areas, and that it was very important to the local economy of the Clarinbridge area. She convicted Mr. Costello of a breach of Section 277 of the 1959 Fisheries Act, and imposed a fine of €250, with costs of €300.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has a freefone number to enable members of the general public to report poaching incidents - 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.