Longford Court Case
Longford landowner fined for disturbance of spawning beds
Appeal to landowners to consult with Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out works on or near watercourses
Mr Colm Ginty from Dunbeggan, Aughnacliffe Co. Longford was convicted and fined €1,000 and ordered to pay a further €1,727.91 towards costs and expenses at Longford District Court on the 12th of April 2022 following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland.
Judge Bernie Owens convicted Mr Ginty under Section 173(1)(d) Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for carrying out works on the Aughnacliffe River on the 30th of June 2021 that involved the removal of a substantial amount of gravel from the channel of the river and causing the destabilisation of the bank. The works were carried out in an area of spawning habitat for wild brown trout and disturbed and injured sensitive spawning beds and bank where the spawn or fry of trout may be.
The court heard evidence from Senior Fisheries Environmental Officer Ailish Keane as to the adverse impacts caused by the actions which occurred on 30th June 2021 along the 90m section of the river. Ms Keane also outlined the negative long-term impacts that the works would have on the lifecycle of the brown trout for years to come. She explained that IFI staff frequently consult with farmers who want to carry out works in rivers and outline the way works should be carried out to avoid potential damage to fish life.
The Aughnacliffe River is a tributary of The Erne River Catchment which contains excellent spawning habitat for wild brown trout.
Milton Matthews Director of the North West River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland said: ‘Unauthorised and unplanned instream works put undue pressure on our native fish stocks through loss or degradation of fisheries habitat and spawning areas. It is a landowner's responsibility to get in contact with their agricultural advisor or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works in or along on watercourses. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary and damaging impact to fisheries habitat and may be liable to prosecution.’
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report alleged incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing- 0818 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.
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About Inland Fisheries Ireland (www.fisheriesireland.ie)
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 (fisheriesireland.ie).