A Cork fisherman has been found guilty of three breaches of fisheries legislation for illegal netting.
Mr Paul O’Connell of Youghal Co. Cork had fixed a 336m net close to the mouth of the Munster Blackwater River which was detected by a Fisheries Officer in the early hours of 4th July 2022.
He was convicted at Youghal District Court on Wednesday 12th April, 2023.
An operation involving local Fisheries Officers and a Delta rib craft crewed by Fisheries Officers from the South Eastern River Basin District recovered the net.
Welcoming the conviction Sean Long, Director of the South-Western River Basin District at (IFI) said: “I would like to acknowledge the vigilance and swift efforts of our Fisheries Officers in recovering the net, and preventing it from doing further damage to salmon, seatrout, and seabass stocks.
“It is one less barrier to migration on the Munster Blackwater and is significant for conservation-minded anglers and the communities the length of the Blackwater relying on angling generated income.
“Members of the public can report instances of such illegal fishing, water pollution, or fish kills by calling Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24.”
Mr O’Connell pleaded guilty to three breaches of the 1959 Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 and Bye Law No. 857 of 2009 and three other charges were withdrawn.
The court imposed fines totalling €4,000 and the net was forfeited.
Mr O’Connell, who had a previous conviction for illegal netting in the same area in 2013, also received a two month custodial sentence and was ordered to pay costs of €500 for the offence of placing a fixed engine at the mouth of any river.
Mr O’Connell was granted leave to appeal the penalty.
The court heard that Mr O’Connell contacted IFI to enquire if officers had seized the net and to request its return.
He then met Fisheries Inspector Michael Fanning the following day to identify the net as his property while under caution.
- Section 65(1) of the Fisheries Act 1959 prohibits the use of an unlicenced Scheduled Engine for the taking of salmon, trout or eels;
- Section 94 (1) of the Act prohibits using any net for taking salmon at the mouth of any river or within half a mile seaward or half a mile inwards or along the coast from the mouth of a river;
- Section 103 (1) of the Act prohibits placing or using a fixed engine etc., at the mouth of a river less than half a mile in breadth;
- The Prohibition on the use of Drift nets and other engines Bye Law No. 857 of 2009 prohibits drift netting for salmon, trout and seatrout and having such a net near the banks of a river or shore of its estuary with the intention of fishing for salmon, trout or seatrout.
For media queries contact: Sadhbh O'Neill, Communications Officer Inland Fisheries Ireland/ firstname.lastname@example.org / 087 101 9998
Notes to Editors
About Inland Fisheries Ireland
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is the state's environmental agency responsible for protecting, managing and conserving Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources. IFI operates under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, and was established under Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. It advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling.