A MAN with four illegally caught lobsters on board his fishing boat was fined €100.
Nicholas O’Regan (62) of 11a Bridge Street, Skibbereen, was entitled to catch one a day, but when a Sea Fisheries Protection inspector boarded his boat at Lough Hyne on June 21st last he had four.
In his defence at Skibbereen District Court, Flor Murphy, solicitor, said his client mistakenly believed that he could catch one a day and leave them in the lobster pot at sea but that is not the case.
State solicitor Malachy Boohig indicated that he was withdrawing a second charge, an allegation that he had 54 illegally caught crab claws that had been removed from a minimum of 27 crabs.
Mr Boohig told Judge James McNulty that the maximum penalty for the outstanding charge was €5,000 but the judge had ‘full discretion’ as to the amount of the fine.
After hearing matters in mitigation – such as the fact that the accused has no previous convictions and is looking to restore his fishing licence after ill-health – the judge said he would deal with the case by imposing a nominal fine.
‘There was an element of hobby fishing about it,’ said the judge, ‘as well as a degree of occupational therapy.’