Man convicted of illegal net fishing for Bass off Wexford Coastline
Thursday, 30th March 2017: Mr. Declan Ellard, Tacumshane, Rosslare, Co. Wexford pleaded guilty on two charges of illegal fishing for Bass at a sitting of Wexford District Court on the 28th of March 2017. Fisheries Officer Stephen Byrne outlined how Inland Fisheries Ireland intercepted Mr. Ellard in possession of three wild Bass and an 80 metre floating net at Carne pier, Co. Wexford on the 14th of April 2016. Mr. Ellard was also observed servicing the net using a boat.
Mr. Ellard had accepted under oath that he would never fish again at a Circuit Court hearing in 2012 during which he was prosecuted for illegal bass fishing by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA). As a result of his prior conviction, prosecuting solicitor Caitriona Walsh sought an adjournment so that the matter could be dealt with in the Circuit Court with the consideration of the SFPA. Judge Chettle proceeded with the case and fined Mr Ellard €400.
Net fishing for Bass is illegal in Ireland due to low stock numbers with angling for bass in the South East of Ireland on a ‘catch and release’ basis during January to June and a bag limit of one fish per day for anglers during July to December. Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority have powers of prosecution for illegal bass fishing under the Bass (Conservation of Stocks) Regulation 2006. Those convicted of this environmental crime can be fined up to €5,000 per charge.
Angling contributes €836 million to the Irish economy annually and bass angling is a valuable resource to the South East of the country. Bass and sea anglers alone, including domestic and overseas anglers who fish here, have an annual expenditure of €168.6 million annually which supports businesses and jobs in coastal communities nationwide.
David McInerney, Director of the South Eastern River Basin District said: “This conviction under the Maritime Jurisdiction Act highlights that illegal fishing in the South-East will not be tolerated. Our fisheries officers are patrolling the waterways in overt and covert operations during the day and night with the aim of protecting and conserving this valuable fisheries resource which supports communities and provides a recreational amenity for all.”
For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie .
For media information:
- Órla Sheils
- Communications Manager
- Inland Fisheries Ireland
- T: (01) 8842673
About Inland Fisheries Ireland
Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.