Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) has secured convictions against four men for separate illegal salmon angling offences, with fines and costs of more than €6,000 levied.

In one case, a man snorkeled offshore to capture wild Atlantic salmon. In another incident a man took a salmon from a catch-and-release river, and placed it into a rucksack before attempting to leave by bike.

In separate cases, two men were prosecuted for failing to produce a salmon licence or a permit to fish. All incidents took place in Co. Sligo.
Commenting after the verdicts, Mary Walsh, Director of IFI’s Western River Basin, Ballina said: “The protection of Ireland’s wild Atlantic salmon stocks is a crucial objective for Inland Fisheries Ireland to ensure these iconic fish survive and thrive.  

“I commend our fisheries officers who were instrumental in protecting the State’s fisheries resources in these incidents.”

In the first case, Mr Gerard McGuinness of Largymore, Killybegs, Co. Donegal, was observed swimming, in a wetsuit and snorkel gear, to a 100-metre net set offshore, in an attempt to capture salmon.

He was fined €2,000, must pay €750 in costs to IFI, and his equipment was seized. 

The incident took place at Roskeeragh Point, Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, between April 28th and 29th 2023.

Fisheries officers engaged with Mr McGuinness and a total of 200 metres of salmon nets were recovered.

Separately, IFI took a prosecution against Mr Jack Cunniffe of Fatima Avenue, Co. Sligo for fishing for, and taking, a salmon from a catch-and-release river, and then placing it into a rucksack before attempting to leave the area by bike.

He was fined €100, must pay costs of €750 to IFI, and his equipment was seized.

The incident took place on July 22nd 2023 at the Garavogue River, Abbeyquarter North, Co. Sligo.

Mr Cunniffe also failed to produce a salmon licence when requested by fisheries officers. 

And IFI secured convictions against Mr John Sweeney of Yeats Drive, Cranmore, Co. Sligo, and Mr Michael Sweeney of Caltragh Crescent, Co. Sligo, for failing to produce a salmon licence, or permit to fish, in the Ballisodare fishery, Sligo, on June 30th 2023.

Both were fined €500 each, and must pay costs of €750 each to IFI. 

The court was told that – that during a surveillance operation by IFI staff - the men were approached by an IFI Assistant Inspector and then dumped their equipment, and ran from the area. 

All four cases were heard in Sligo District Court on last March.

Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to encourage the public to report illegal fishing incidents, or those relating to water pollution, habitat destruction, or fish kills, to its 24/7 confidential phone number, 0818 34 74 24.


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