A RECENT Clonakilty court case shows that illegal fishing will not be tolerated in Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland said this week.
At a sitting of Clonakilty District Court on January 3rd, Judge David Waters convicted two brothers of ‘stroke hauling’ a salmon on the Argideen River last August.
Judge Waters imposed fines of €750 on each of the defendants, Niall Fitzpatrick, 7 Corrin Close, The Glen, Cork and his brother Lawrence Fitzpatrick, 34 Ballincurrig Court, Douglas, Cork, plus costs of €500 each. The charges had been vigorously contested by the brothers. However Judge Waters convicted the men and remarked upon the ‘unwarranted and unfounded allegations’ made against the Inland Fisheries Ireland’s fisheries officers who gave evidence in court. The brothers had claimed that they had caught the salmon by fly fishing and that the fish had ‘swallowed the hook’.
After hearing the expert evidence from the fisheries officers in regard to marks on the fish, Judge Waters was satisfied that the fish had in fact been strokehauled, a mechanism by which a weighted instrument or device is used to foul-hook the fish.
Sean Long, director of the South West River Basin District said after the case that Ireland’s wild indigenous fish populations must be protected and conserved for future generations. ‘This is an extremely valuable resource which makes a significant economic contribution to the local economy through angling tourism,’ he said.
Inland Fisheries said the court case sent a clear message that illegal fishing activity will not be tolerated in Cork. ‘Our fisheries officers are committed to protecting this resource for the public through overt and covert surveillance operations and we will continue to hold those who carry out illegal activity, which damages our resource, accountable,’ the agency said.
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the public to report incidents (1890 34 74 24) or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.