Press Release

‘Ringleader’ with haul of 27 illegally-caught salmon to pay fines and costs of almost €6k

IFI staff on a rib boat at sea taking up bags of nets that were in the water

Inland Fisheries Ireland secures another successful conviction against poachers

Three men have been fined in relation to the illegal capture of 27 salmon, and the use of 861 metres of illegal nets, off the coast of Mayo.

Mr Patrick O’Donnell, Mr Milan Funket, and Mr Marek Radomsky were observed by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officers setting drift nets from a boat, skippered by Mr. O’Donnell, which were later retrieved at Porturlin, North Mayo.

Bags of nets in the sea

Francis O’Donnell CEO of IFI commented: “The scale of this illegal salmon netting at sea was at a commercial level, and posed a significant threat to our wild Atlantic salmon stocks.

“It is a serious environmental crime, and such crimes will not be tolerated by IFI.”

Mary Walsh, IFI’s Director of the Western River Basin District, Ballina, added: “I commend the coordinated response of our dedicated teams. There were many factors contributing to the success of this operation, including intelligence, leadership, and planning, as well as the availability and use of specialised equipment.”

Mr O’Donnell, Mr Funket and Mr Radomsky appeared before Belmullet District Court on June 14th 2023, charged with the offences.

The incident took place on June 17th 2022.

The court was told that Mr O’Donnell was the “ringleader” in the operation.

He was convicted, and fined a total of €3,000 for breaches of fisheries legislation, a further €1,000 in expenses to IFI, and €1,845 in costs to IFI.

Mr Funket was fined €750 for the possession of a net, and Mr Radomsky was fined €1,000 for the possession of illegally captured salmon.

Dead wild Atlantic salmon in a red container

Judge Fiona Lydon heard evidence from Inspector Lonan O’Farrell of IFI, that on the date in question he observed the three men setting a drift net from the boat, the Cailin Ban.

The net was later retrieved and placed in the boat - following which the Cailin Ban headed for Porturlin pier. 

On its arrival at the pier a crew member disembarked, and the illegally-caught salmon were put into a van.

IFI officers intercepted the van at the pier, cautioned and questioned the driver, and seized the 27 salmon. 

However, despite efforts by IFI fisheries officers to speak to the crew, the boat returned to sea and three bags were seen thrown overboard.

Red and white fishing boat in the sea

The Cailin Ban re-entered Porturlin pier where IFI officers boarded the boat and cautioned the two men on board.

IFI personnel later retrieved the bags with the illegal drift nets that had been discarded at sea.

Inland Fisheries Ireland reminds members of the public that they can report any suspected instances of illegal fishing, fish kills or water pollution, by calling its confidential number on 0818 34 74 24.