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Track Machine Owner Fined for Damage to Salmon River

29th September 2015

At a sitting of Drogheda District Court on 15th September 2015, Judge William Hamill convicted a track machine owner, Mr Ronan Sheridan of Beshellstown, Garrison, Co Meath, under Section 131 of the 1959 Fisheries Act, for causing extensive damage to the bed of a tributary of the Nanny River in Co Meath. Mr Sheridan was fined €500 and ordered to pay full costs of €1,555.56 to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

In November 2014, Fishery Officer Dr Maureen Byrne observed that Mr Sheridan’s track machine had been used to divert river flows away from the natural course of the channel and permanently re-align 80 metres of the Annesbrook River, which is a tributary of the Nanny River.

The Nanny River supports wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations – species which have been the subject of a series of recently introduced conservation and protection measures from Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Dr Maureen Byrne gave evidence outlining details of significant damage that had been caused to the bed of the river, which is a spawning and nursery habitat for Atlantic salmon and sea / brown trout. Mr Sheridan was represented in court and pleaded guilty to the offence.

Commenting on the case, Mr Brian Beckett, Director, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Dublin, said there is a general prohibition under the Fisheries Acts from interfering with and damaging river and stream habitat. He said that Inland Fisheries Ireland continue to seek the assistance and cooperation of landowners as the primary custodians of the natural environment, not to engage in works likely to impact on the fisheries and aquatic environment without prior consultation with them. He acknowledged the many landowners who had and continue to make contact with Inland Fisheries Ireland to ensure that proposed works are undertaken in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland stated, “Destruction of fish habitat is an environmental crime and must be prevented. Such destruction impacts the potential of rivers to contribute to our social and economic wealth. Recreational salmon and sea trout angling is estimated to contribute €210 million to the Irish economy and supports over 3000 jobs. It is imperative that our fish habitat is conserved and protected to ensure the sustainability of this important natural resource.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report 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.

Published in Angling
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