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Lagan Materials Ltd in Bweeng, Mallow, Co Cork, now trading as Breedon Ireland, were convicted and fined €3,000 at Mallow District Court on Monday 9 January following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

The defendants did not appear before the Court and Judge Joanne Carroll expressed surprise and disappointment at their absence.

After hearing evidence from senior fisheries environmental officer Andrew Gillespie, Judge Carroll convicted the quarry operator under Section 173 (1)(d) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 and Section 3(1) of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 for allowing a discharge to the Clydagh River in the townland of Carrigcleena, Bweeng, Mallow on 12 November 2021.

The Clydagh River is an important nursery habitat and tributary of the Munster Blackwater.

Convictions were also recorded and taken into consideration in relation to two further charges under Sections 171(1) and 173(1)(c) of the 1959 Act.

Sean Long, director of the South-Western River Basin District (SWRBD) at IFI welcomed the conviction, noting that salmonid habitats are incredibly sensitive and urged quarry operators to take all measures to minimise the risk of harmful discharges to waters.

He added that “while the overall level of compliance is high, fisheries environmental officers in the South-West detected 99 incidents of habitat and water quality infringement in 2022 and every incident is one too many”.

Published in Angling

Two Carlow men have been found guilty of fishing illegally for protected wild salmon on the River Slaney and for obstructing or impeding a fisheries officer, in a prosecution brought by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Sitting before Judge Geraldine Carthy at Carlow District Court earlier this month (Thursday 1 December), Shane Rooney of Park Avenue, Phellim Wood in Tullow and Adam Keegan of Slaney View Drive in Tullow were found guilty of all charges against them.

On the evening of 29 March this year, a covert protection operation was carried out by a specialist fisheries unit, supported by local staff. This was at a time of year when wild salmon were extremely vulnerable during the ‘spring run’ up the River Slaney.

In the townland of Kilcarry, on the freshwater portion of the River Slaney, the two defendants were observed illegally fishing for wild salmon during the closed season, using pieces of angling equipment that were contrary to bye-laws.

Rooney was fined €1,500 and ordered to pay a further €750 towards prosecution costs for the three charges against him. These were: obstructing or impeding a fisheries officer contrary to Section 301 (Fisheries Consolidation Act, 1959); using or attempting to use a lure other than artificial fly using single or double barbless hooks, contrary to Bye-law No. 992 of 2021; and using or attempting to use any fish hooks other than single or double barbless hooks contrary to Bye-law No. 989 of 2021.

Keegan, who had pleaded guilty, received a €400 fine in respect of the breach of Article 5(a) of Bye-law No. 992 of 2021 (using or attempting to use a lure other than artificial fly using single or double barbless hooks) and Judge Carthy took the remaining two charges into consideration, which were obstructing or impeding a fisheries officer contrary to Section 301 (Fisheries Consolidation Act, 1959) and assaulting or obstructing fisheries officer contrary to Section 308 (Fisheries Consolidation Act, 1959).

Both men also had their fishing rods and reels seized.

Commenting on the case, Lynda Connor, director of the South-Eastern River Basin District at IFI said: “The River Slaney has an early spring run of wild Atlantic salmon, so these migratory species are especially vulnerable at that time and require as much protection as possible.

“The illegal fishing of wild salmon puts the survival of this protected species into jeopardy, not just in rivers here in the south-east like the Slaney, Nore, Barrow and Suir, but in every Irish river.”

Connor added: “Breaches of fisheries legislation highlight the ongoing issue of illegal fishing activity. At Inland Fisheries Ireland, we have a zero-tolerance approach to serious environmental crime and we initiate prosecutions, where possible. I would like to commend the fisheries protection Officers and their commitment to protecting this vulnerable species.”

Published in Angling

A sailor who was struck in the face by a steel pulley on the deck of a multi-millionaire’s superyacht is set to get up to £1.6 million (€1.84 million) in damages.

According to MailOnline, Adam Prior says he was forced to quit his career at sea after he was struck by the 10-kilo steel pulley on board the Eleonora E during a race off the Isle of Wight in July 2015.

In an unrelated incident, the classic schooner Eleonora E was sunk after a collision with a large supply ship in the Spanish port of Tarragona this past June and is currently listed as “out of service”.

The £7 million boat is owned through a company by retired business tycoon Zbynek Zak. That company, Peras Ltd, was sued for £3.2 million in damages by 40-year-old Prior, who alleged blaming unsafe weather and lack of maintenance for the accident which he says caused him brain damage.

While the company denied all blame for the incident, Judge Richard Davison at a hearing at London’s High Court last month did not see it that way and found both sides equally at fault — which means Prior is in line for up to half his claim in compensation

MailOnline has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Superyachts

State-owned forestry company Coillte and its contractor, Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd, have both pleaded guilty to breaches of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 in a case brought by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Following reports of pollution in November 2021 along the Glenaboy River, a tributary of the Bride River in Co Cork, officers from IFI found heavy deposits of silt, vehicle tracks in the river bed and a lack of adequate silt control in an area where Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd had been carrying out thinning operations on behalf of Coillte.

As a result, IFI estimated that significant damage had been done to spawning beds and that a valuable stretch of the river had been lost to spawning wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout that year.

Sitting before Judge Colm Roberts at Mallow District Court on Monday 28 November, Coillte pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 171 (1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.

Also before the court on that date was Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd, which Judge Roberts believed were the main instigators of the silt discharge to the Glenaboy River.

Judge Roberts afforded Coillte the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act and ordered a payment of €2,000 to Tallow TidyTowns Committee.

Oliver Kelly Timber Harvesting Ltd were also found guilty of a breach of Section 171 as well as Section 173 of the 1959 Act and Section 3 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) (Amendment) Act 1977. The company was also given the benefit of the Probation Act and ordered to pay €2,000 to the Tallow Anglers Association, €1,500 to the Tallow TidyTowns Committee and post a bond of €1,500 for a period of two years under Section 1-1(2) of the Probation Act.

The court heard evidence that IFI officers, including senior fisheries environmental officer Andrew Gillespie, visited the location between Sunday 20 and Tuesday 22 November following reports of pollution.

There was evidence of silt in the river over a five-kilometre stretch downstream of the thinning operation’s location. Gillespie highlighted that the time of the occurrence, in November, was particularly relevant as it was the critical spawning period and that the effect of the silt discharge would be to smother any eggs deposited in the spawning gravels.

Speaking in court, Judge Roberts remarked that Coillte “didn’t properly supervise” the thinning operations and that their contractor “didn’t supervise properly as he was overstretched,” before observing that “when State agencies fail in their obligations, we are in big trouble”.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District at IFI welcomed the decision, noting that neither Coillte nor their contractor had been before the courts before and had cooperated fully with IFI to implement immediate mitigation measures at the site.

Speaking after verdict was delivered, Long said: “Located in the Munster Blackwater Special Area of Conservation, the Glenaboy River is a very important spawning ground for returning wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, which are very vulnerable species protected by conservation measures and legislation.

“Sadly, the damage that was done to these spawning beds through pollution was significant, meaning that a valuable stretch of this river had been lost for spawning salmon and sea trout last year.”

Published in Angling

An angler has been convicted at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court for several fishing offences and fined a total of £465, which included a £15 offender levy.

Kevin McCann (55) of Lagmore View Gardens, Dunmurray, Belfast was found guilty at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court to three breaches of legislation and fisheries regulations prescribed under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, namely unlicensed fishing, fishing on Public Angling Estate (PAE) waters without a permit and obstructing and impeding an authorised person while carrying out their duties.

The court heard that on 25 August 2021, DAERA fisheries protection officers were on routine patrol of PAE waters at Hillsborough Lake when they observed McCann angling.

When asked to reel in his rod so a check of the bait could be made, McCann reeled in two rods; a further rod licence and permit check confirmed that McCann had a game licence and permit for one of the rods and not the other.

When this was explained to McCann, he advised the second rod belonged to his grandson who had gone for a walk. The fisheries protection officers then advised they would await his return. McCann obstructed and impeded DAERA staff from carrying out their duties, the court heard.

The total fine of £465 consisted of fines of £150 for each offence along with an offender levy of £15.

DAERA says it is committed to pursue those who fish illegally in Northern Ireland. If you are aware or suspect illegal fishing, DAERA Inland Fisheries can be contacted at (+44) 0300 200 7860 or outside office hours (+44) 0800 807 060.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

Two carp anglers convicted at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court for separate fishing offences have been fined a total of £430.

Samuel Seenan (42) of Altnagarron Mews, Belfast pleaded guilty to three breaches of legislation prescribed under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 — namely unlicensed fishing, failing to provide his name and address and obstructing and impeding an authorised person.

Separately, Wayne Hull (51) of Ashmount Gardens in Lisburn pleaded guilty to two breaches of legislation prescribed under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, namely unlicensed fishing and failing to provide his name and address.

On 20 March 2022, DAERA fisheries protection officers were on routine patrol of Mill Lodge carp fishery in Dromore, Co Down. This fishery is owned by the Northern Ireland Carp Angling Society (NICAS).

During their patrol, they observed Seenan setting up fishing rods. Seenan was then approached by a DAERA fisheries protection officer and asked that he provide his details so a check of the online system could take place to confirm there was a license in place for each of his fishing rods.

Seenan was aggressive and confrontational during these requests and continually refused to comply, the court heard.

After numerous requests were ignored, the PSNI was called to assist. With the PSNI assistance, Seenan then provided his details.

Due to his constant refusal to provide details initially, and that there was no fishing licence in place during the initial request to provide his details, all fishing equipment belonging to Seenan was seized.

The total fine of £315 consisted of fines ranging from £50 to £200 for each offence along with an offender levy of £15.

In a separate incident, when Hull was approached and asked for his details, he explained that he was an officer of the club and that all fishing licenses had been checked previously for all anglers present.

Hull then provided a false name, along with two different dates of birth, the court heard. When asked again to provide his correct details, a follow-up check confirmed that Hull had no current fishing license and was fishing illegally.

Hull’s total fine of £115 consisted of two fines of £50 for each offence along with an offender levy of £15.

DAERA says it is committed to pursue those who fish illegally. If you are aware or suspect illegal fishing, DAERA Inland Fisheries can be contacted at (+44) 0300 200 7860 or outside office hours (+44) 0800 807 060.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

Three Mayo men have been convicted of false imprisonment, assault and obstruction as they attempted to evade fisheries officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) at Belderrig Pier on the North Mayo coast two years ago.

At a sitting of Ballina District Court on 12 July this year, Judge Fiona Lydon also convicted the men of possessing illegally caught wild Atlantic salmon and nets, in charges brought by IFI. The charges of false imprisonment were brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Daniel McHale, with an address of Belderrig Mor in Ballina, was sentenced to six months in prison, which was suspended for two years. Liam McHale of Carnrock in Belmullet was sentenced to four months in prison, also suspended for two years. Joachim McNulty, with an address of Belderrig Beg in Ballina, was sentenced to four months in prison, which was suspended for two years. The three men were also ordered to pay €2,500 each to charity.

The court heard evidence from Lonan O’Farrell, an inspector with IFI that on the evening of 15 July 2020, the men were approached by fisheries officers as they recovered their boat at Belderrig Pier on the North Mayo coast.

The fisheries officers suspected that the men had illegally caught wild Atlantic salmon and illegal gill nets on board but were obstructed and assaulted when they lawfully attempted to board the vessel.

A fisheries officer was subsequently assaulted and knocked overboard by one of the men, but two colleagues managed to board the vessel. When the fisheries officer swam safely back to the pier, the court heard that emergency services were contacted and An Garda Síochána quickly arrived on the scene.

With two fisheries officers still on board, the men took the boat out to sea and refused to obey orders to return the boat back to port. A short time later, the men agreed to bring the boat back to port and the fisheries officers were able to get back to the pier safely.

The boat, An Deiseach, was later detained in Porturlin Harbour where forensics and salmon scale samples were taken as evidence for the subsequent criminal prosecution. Fisheries officers, along with An Garda Síochana, seized three vehicles on the night belonging to the men in question.

Inspector Pat Armstrong, officer Brian Flannery and assistant inspector Michael Wilson, all with IFI, also gave evidence during court proceedings providing their accounts of the incident to Judge Lydon.

IFI chief executive Francis O’Donnell welcomed the convictions, saying it was one of the most serious incidents that the agency has come across.

“Thanks to the brave actions of our fisheries Oofficers, a major illegal fishing gang has been stopped and brought to justice,” he said. “However, in the course of doing their job to protect vulnerable fish species, such as wild Atlantic salmon, they were obstructed, assaulted and falsely imprisoned. This is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated in Irish society.

“This very serious case sends out a clear message to those involved in illegal fishing — we will use our full powers under the law to protect people doing their jobs and to prosecute offenders through the courts.”

O’Donnell also thanked An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of IFI for their assistance in the case.

Fisheries Officers have nominated three charities — the Charlie Bird Fund, Western Alzheimer’s Association and the RNLI — to receive the three €2,500 donations.

Published in Fishing

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has appealed to landowners to consult with it before carrying out works on or near watercourses after a Longford man was fined or disturbance of spawning beds.

Colm Ginty from Dunbeggan, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford was convicted and fined €1,000 and ordered to pay a further €1,727.91 towards costs and expenses at Longford District Court on 12 April following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Judge Bernie Owens convicted Ginty under Section 173(1)(d) Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for carrying out works on the Aughnacliffe River on 30 June 2021 that involved the removal of a substantial amount of gravel from the channel of the river and causing the destabilisation of the bank.

These works were carried out in an area of spawning habitat for wild brown trout and disturbed and injured sensitive spawning beds and bank where the spawn or fry of trout may be.

The court heard evidence from senior fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane as to the adverse impacts caused by the actions, which occurred along a 90-metre section of the river.

Keane also outlined the negative long-term impacts that the works would have on the lifecycle of the brown trout for years to come.

She explained that IFI staff frequently consult with farmers who want to carry out works in rivers and outline the way works should be carried out to avoid potential damage to fish life.

The Aughnacliffe River is a tributary of the Erne River Catchment which contains a prime spawning habitat for wild brown trout.

Milton Matthews, director of the North West River Basin District at IFI said: “Unauthorised and unplanned instream works put undue pressure on our native fish stocks through loss or degradation of fisheries habitat and spawning areas.

“It is a landowner's responsibility to get in contact with their agricultural advisor or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works in or along on watercourses. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary and damaging impact to fisheries habitat and may be liable to prosecution.”

Published in Angling

A Cork city man convicted of strokehauling salmon received a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years at a sitting of Cork District Court on Tuesday 17 May.

Shane Heaphy (27) of Templeacre Avenue, Gurranabraher pleaded guilty to committing four fisheries offences on the River Lee on 25 July 2020.

The court heard evidence from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) protection officers that Heaphy entered upon a several (private) fishery at the Cork Waterworks weir on 25 July to strokehaul salmon.

Strokehauling is an illegal method of catching fish that involves ripping weighted hooks along the flank of a fish to try and impale it and causes horrific injuries to the fish.

Judge Marian O’Leary, hearing that Heaphy had previous convictions for strokehauling, responded by stating that “strokehauling was cruel” and that the court took a “dim view” of the practice.

Heaphy was also convicted of possession of a fishing rod and line, fishing within 50 yards of the downstream face of the weir and using a strokehaul. He was fined €300 and ordered to pay €350 in expenses.

IFI director of the South West River Basin District, Sean Long welcomed the judges’ comments: “The practice of strokehauling is barbaric and fuelled by a small black-market for illegally caught fish.

“We will not tolerate any kind of illegal fishing and our protection staff carry out covert and overt operations to safeguard our fisheries resource.

“Anglers and members of the general public are urged to report illegal fishing to IFI in confidence through our 24-hour hotline number 0818 347 424.”

IFI reminds the public that angling is prohibited in the Waterworks Powerhouse area under the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Article 4 of the River Lee (Cork Waterworks Weir) By-Law No.453 of 1943.

Published in Angling

Two men have been convicted for being in the possession of illegally caught salmon on the River Fergus in Ennis, Co Clare and were ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Gerard Considine and Niall Considine, cousins with an address of Clarecastle, Co Clare, received a fine of €200 and costs of €471 each following their conviction at Ennis District Court on Friday 22 April by Judge Bernadette Owens.

IFI fisheries officers gave evidence in relation to the offence which occurred on 1 July 2021.

They outlined the facts of the case to the court of how both men had been apprehended following a night-time surveillance operation in the area after suspicious activity had been detected.

The men were found to be in possession of eight salmon illegally caught from the River Fergus in Ennis.

David McInerney, director of the Shannon River Basin District at IFI said: “Inland Fisheries Ireland has no tolerance for illegal fishing. Atlantic salmon stocks are in decline and need to be protected. Illegal fishing puts the already diminished stocks in further jeopardy.

“The river Fergus and the entire River Shannon catchment is closed for the harvesting of salmon due to the poor level of salmon stocks in the river.

“We appeal to the general public to report suspected instances of illegal fishing to IFI’s confidential 24/7 hotline number on 0818 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling
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