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Three Convicted Of Illegal Fishing In Connemara

4th March 2015
Three Convicted Of Illegal Fishing In Connemara

#Angling - Three men were convicted of illegal fishing in Connemara in two separate cases at a sitting of Clifden District Court last Thursday (26 February).

In the first case, Judge Mary Fahy heard that Michael Coyne, of Leenane in Co Galway, was apprehended by fishery officers on 31 July 2014 in possession of two salmon.

The court heard that Fishery Officers on patrol in the Aasleagh area of Killary Harbour at night heard splashing in the water, and using a thermal imaging camera observed a man using a net. The officers went immediately to the area and apprehended Coyne in possession of salmon.

The judge was told that Coyne immediately admitted to illegal fishing. The court also heard that he was co-operative, and showed the officers where he had hidden three nets.

Judge Fahy convicted Coyne on two charges of illegal possession or a net, and the illegal use of a fixed engine, and fined him €600 with €200 costs.

On the same day, the court heard a case against Pat King and John Coneys, both with addresses in Ballyconneely, Co Galway.

Evidence was heard that on 27 July 2014, Assistant Inspector Sean Coady of Inland Fisheries Ireland was on patrol in the Ballyconneely area when he observed two men in a boat acting suspiciously.

He approached the men when they returned to shore, and found them in possession of a bag with a salmon in it.

Judge Fahy heard that the men immediately took responsibility, and were fully co-operative. Both men were convicted on one charge of the possession of an unlawfully caught salmon, and were fined €200 each plus €100 each for possession of the salmon. Costs of €250 each were also awarded against the men.

At the same sitting of Clifden District Court, Judge Fahy convicted a fish farm company for damage caused to a river bed in Co Galway.

Mannin Bay Salmon Company was before the court arising from an incident which occurred in July 2014, when fisheries Officers found the company had constructed a dam across the Bunowen River, which flows into Killary Harbour, in order to pump freshwater to a fish farm cage located offshore.

Significant damage was caused to the bed of the river, which is a spawning and nursery habitat for salmonids, and the dam was impeding the passage of fish.

The company pleaded guilty to the charge, and solicitor for the defence, Thomas Mannion, pleaded that the company had experienced an emergency situation whereby an outbreak of Amoebic Gill Disease threatened the stock of fish on the fish farm.

Amoebic Gill Disease can be treated by bathing fish in freshwater for a number of hours.

The defence acknowledged that the company knew it should not have dammed the river, but did so in order to avoid significant financial losses.

Convicting the company under Section 173 of the Fisheries Act 1959, Judge Fahy commented that protection of fish habitat was very important, but acknowledged that the company had been co-operative and had removed the dam and rectified the situation immediately once fisheries officers became aware of it. She fined the company €500 with €500 costs.

Published in Angling
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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