The owner of an angling centre from Moycullen was convicted at Galway District Court last Tuesday 5 February for the illegal use of a net and for possession of an unlawfully captured trout.
The court heard that Michael Canney, with an address at Portarra Lodge, was approached by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) fisheries officers on the morning of 25 June 2018 as he was hauling an illegal net into a lake boat on Lough Corrib.
Diorai Ford, solicitor acting for IFI, outlined to the court that fisheries officers had covertly kept the illegal net under surveillance throughout the night.
The net had been fishing since the previous evening when it was discovered during a routine fisheries patrol.
Canney was accompanied in the boat by a foreign student who was staying with him where he operates an angling centre.
When Canney retrieved the net into the boat, it contained one dead brown trout. While in the act of lifting the net, Canney was approached by a fisheries officer on a personal water craft.
Canney was co-operative throughout. The equipment used in the commission of the offences was seized and included a lake boat and engine.
Solicitor for the defendant, Sinead Fitzpatrick, stated in his defence that Canney had a group of Italian anglers staying with him at the time and he was undertaking a survey to see what fish stocks were in the area.
Judge Mary Fahy commented that she knew several people who fish legally on a regular basis on Lough Corrib and that Canney was a mature man and that he knew that what he was doing was illegal.
Judge Fahy convicted Mr Canney on both counts, and imposed a fine of €500 for the use of an unlawful net, along with a fine of €500 for the possession of an unlawfully captured trout.
Costs of €600 were awarded to IFI’s solicitor. The boat and engine that Canney used in the commission of the offences were also forfeited.
IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “Lough Corrib is considered Ireland’s finest wild brown trout fishery and is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated for the protection of numerous aquatic species including Atlantic salmon.
“Lough Corrib attracts a vast number of anglers from all over the world who enjoy the unique angling for wild brown trout, Atlantic salmon, pike and coarse fish that the lake offers.
“This conviction reflects the long hours that dedicated fisheries officers spend on a daily basis in protecting our valuable fisheries resource.”