Poachers warned about illegal wild salmon
Illegal wild salmon catching is a very "anti-social activity", according to the Minister for the Marine, Mr Fahey. He intended to make it a "hot season" next spring for poachers.
"I have already addressed one community where they have earned a reputation for themselves for poaching wild salmon," he said. "I've told them that if they're not going to be responsible and deal with people in their community dealing with this greedy practice, we will come down with the full force of the law on those people."
He said everybody had a responsibility to "stop those greedy people who are involved in the poaching of wild salmon". More resources would be put into monitoring poaching and illegal fishing.
"If we could get across a greater ethos of it being such a greedy and unsocial behaviour that would be a help."
He warned deputies that no matter how much resources the Minister made available, or how great the effort by the fishery boards and their officers, "if people are going to poach salmon and catch salmon illegally they're going to do it".
Mr Fahey also said the sale of farmed salmon as wild salmon was illegal and "where that is going on we will certainly attempt to have it stopped".
The Minister was responding to a debate on the Fisheries Amendment Bill which gives effect to the 1999 Fisheries Act in dealing with the salmon industry in the State.
Mr Michael Bell, Labour's marine spokesman, said that 40 per cent or more of the salmon caught on rivers on the east coast "are sold by those who caught them out of the backs of their cars".
He said in his constituency in Louth signs can often be seen saying: "For Sale - Salmon". He said people would approach whoever was selling the salmon and "they will haggle over the prices and usually £10, £20, £40 or some other amount will change hands. On many occasions I have seen the total catch from the river Boyne being sold to tourists and others wanting to obtain fresh salmon."