The Gaddagh River, a tributary of the River Laune and in an SAC (Special Area of Conservation), is an important spawning habitat for Atlantic Salmon, a species protected under Irish and European law.
The Court heard evidence that an inspection carried out by IFI Officers discovered substantial amounts of spawning gravel removed from the river and stock-piled along a 250m section of bank. Heavy machinery tracks were recorded across the riverbed, the protected spawning gravels and on both banks. Evidence was given that the engine of a tracked earth mover at the site was hot when discovered but the driver could not be located. The scene was described in Court as a “working site”.
Sean Long, Director of the South Western River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “This is a serious environmental crime, the removal of gravel from spawning beds will directly impact our already endangered Atlantic salmon stocks by drastically reducing usable spawning gravel. We urge all landowners to take responsible action and to contact their advisors or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works that may damage watercourses on or adjacent to their land.
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.”
For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie.
For media information:
Inland Fisheries Ireland
T: 01 8842632/ 087 101 9998
About Inland Fisheries Ireland
Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communication (DECC) 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.