Inland Fisheries Ireland has secured convictions against three men for illegal fishing offences on the River Shannon.
Two men were convicted of illegal salmon netting on the River Shannon, and another man has been convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.
Mr Damien Mallard and Mr Calvin Hughes of St. Mary’s Park, Limerick, were observed by Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) officers setting a 100-metre salmon net from a boat, spanning almost the entire width of the River Shannon in Limerick City.
Separately, Mr Ger Molloy, of St. Mary’s Park, Limerick was convicted of possessing an unlawfully-captured salmon.
Commenting on the cases, David McInerney, Shannon River Basin District at IFI said: “The lower River Shannon is open to salmon fishing on a catch-and-release basis only.
“Salmon numbers in the River Shannon catchment are significantly below levels required to sustain a healthy natural population.
“Any illegal fishing puts further pressure on a very important and iconic wild Irish fish. In 1971, a total of 1.2 million wild salmon returned to Ireland. Last year, that number was just 171,697 – representing a fall of 86 per cent.”
IFI encourage the public to report illegal fishing incidents, or those relating to water pollution, or fish kills, to its 24/7 confidential phone number, 0818 34 74 24.
In the early hours of July 22nd 2022, IFI officers apprehended Mr Mallard and Mr Hughes, and seized a net which the men had retrieved and brought onboard a boat.
With the assistance of An Garda Síochána the boat was also seized.
The case was heard at Limerick District Court on September 8th 2023.
The court heard how Mr Mallard was convicted of previous illegal fishing offences, and a four-month suspended sentence was imposed for two years in October 2020.
As the date of the July 2022 offence was within the two-year period of the suspended sentence the sentence was invoked.
Taking on board the early plea, but also the seriousness of the offences, a one-month custodial sentence was imposed by the court.
Legal counsel for Mr Mallard indicated he would appeal the sentence with general bail conditions attaching to this appeal. This has the effect of staying the operation of the District Court order until such time as the appeal is concluded in the Circuit Court.
Costs of €560 to IFI were granted.
The co-accused, Mr Hughes, who pleaded guilty to the same illegal salmon netting offence, received a fine of €250, and costs of €250 were awarded to IFI.
Separately, in a case heard on September 8th 2023 at Limerick District Court, Mr Ger Molloy was convicted of possessing an unlawfully-captured salmon.
The court heard how, on July 1st 2022, Mr Molloy was observed fishing for, and catching, a salmon by rod and line in the tailrace portion of the River Shannon.
A fine of €250 was imposed, and IFI was awarded costs of €250.