Press Release

IFI secures conviction against man for Atlantic bluefin tuna angling in Kerry

Monday, June 19th, 2023: A Co. Meath angler has been found guilty of two breaches of fisheries legislation for illegal fishing in an area around the Blasket islands.

Mr Joseph Foley from Trim, Co. Meath was observed trolling for protected bluefin tuna off the Kerry coastline - using specialist gear including spreader bars, squid lures, and game fishing reels.

Inland Fisheries Ireland secures conviction against Meath man for illegal Atlantic bluefin tuna angling near the Blasket islands

Fisheries officers boarded his vessel, the Evie Rose, at the mouth of Valentia Harbour on 27th August 2022, and located the equipment stored throughout the boat.

Sean Long, Director of the South-Western River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) said: “Recreational fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna in all Irish waters is strictly prohibited. This was an intelligence-led operation. It enabled officers to detect and intercept the Evie Rose and ensure that these important species are protected from illegal fishing. 

“A tightly controlled licenced research project, studying the movements and abundance of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Tuna CHART) has been underway between July and November annually since 2019. Such illegal angling jeopardises the potential for a viable recreational fishery in the future.

“I wish to acknowledge the vigilance and perseverance of IFI local fisheries officers in this instance.

Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to encourage members of the public and anglers to report illegal fishing, water pollution, fish kills, or fish in distress, to its confidential 24/7 phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Mr Foley pleaded guilty to two charges - surface trolling from a vessel used for sea-angling targeting or catching any species fish under bye-law no. 981 of 2020 (Control of Sea Angling Method for Certain Species of Fish), and using a boat as an aid to the commission of an offence, contrary to the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 as amended.

He was convicted at Caherciveen District Court on 8th June 2023 and fined €400 for the breach of bye-law no.981/2020. The second charge was marked “taken into consideration”.

An order of forfeiture was made of the fishing gear seized, and Mr. Foley was ordered to pay €200 costs.

The court was informed of the seriousness of the offences and that recreational fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna in Irish waters is prohibited - unless licenced as part of a limited and tightly controlled ongoing research project.

The court heard that Mr Foley had no previous convictions, and had cooperated with fisheries officers.


For media queries contact: John Lawrence, Communications Manager, Inland Fisheries Ireland, / 087 138 4945

About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is the State's environmental agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and managing Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources. IFI was established under the Inland Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010, and operates under the aegis of the department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. There are more than 300 people working full-time in IFI at locations nationwide, and it manages a budget of approximately €31m