Two Centuries Ago: ‘We hear that on Friday morning a Salmon was caught in the Liffey at Kilcullen Bridge (in a place known by the name of Halfpenny’s Hole) which weighed near 64lbs. The poor Man who caught it sold it to a Gentleman in that Neighbourhood for Half a Guinea.’ – Hibernian Journal, April 23, 1779. (How times have changed!)
Meanwhile, two men have been convicted of illegal salmon netting on the River Shannon, and another man convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon. Both cases were heard at Limerick District Court on September 8th, 2023.
Damien Mallard and Calvin Hughes, of St Mary’s Park, Limerick, were observed by fisheries officers setting a 100-metre salmon net from a boat, spanning almost the entire width of the Shannon in Limerick City.
Separately, Ger Molloy, of St Mary’s Park, Limerick was convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.
On July 22nd, 2022, officers apprehended Mr Mallard and Mr Hughes and seized a net which the men had retrieved and brought on board a boat. With assistance of An Garda Síochána, the boat was also seized.
The court heard how Mr Mallard had been convicted of previous illegal fishing offences and that a four-month suspended sentence had been imposed for two years in October 2020.
As the July 2022 offence was within the two-year period of the suspended sentence, the sentence was invoked. Taking on board the early plea, but also the seriousness of the offences, a one-month custodial sentence was imposed by the court.
Legal counsel for Mr Mallard indicated he would appeal the sentence with general bail conditions attaching to this appeal. This has the effect of staying the operation of the District Court order until such time as the appeal is concluded in the Circuit Court. Costs of €560 to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) were granted.
The co-accused, Mr Hughes, who pleaded guilty to the same illegal salmon netting offence, received a fine of €250, and costs of €250 were awarded to IFI.
Separately, Ger Molloy was convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon. The court heard how, on July 1st, 2022, Mr Molloy was observed catching a salmon by rod and line in the tailrace portion of the Shannon. A fine of €250 was imposed and IFI was awarded costs of €250.
IFI’s director, David McInerney, said: “The Lower Shannon is open to salmon fishing on a catch-and-release basis only. Salmon numbers in the Shannon catchment are significantly below levels required to sustain a healthy natural population.
“Any illegal fishing puts further pressure on a very important and iconic wild Irish fish. In 1971, a total of 1.2 million wild salmon returned to Ireland. Last year, that number was just 171,697 – representing a fall of 86 per cent.”
The public are asked to report illegal fishing incidents, water pollution or fish kills to the 24/7 confidential number, 0818 34 74 24.
Coarse angling teams represented their provinces at the NCFFI Inter Provincial Championships on the Grand Canal over two days. The teams of 10 fought for the prestigious title at the Millennium Bridge and Town sections at Daingean, Co Offaly, prepared by the Leinster Coarse Fishing Federation.
The clear water presented difficult fishing for some on day one with small roach and perch from the middle pegs. A slight improvement on day two saw the best fishing, with skimmers and tench making a show.
Current title holders Ulster put up a great performance, winning day one with 23 points, with Leinster and Connacht close behind on 25 points. Munster pulled it back on day two, finishing just behind Connacht, who won the day with 22 points, and the championships. It was a disappointing last place for the Leinster hosts on home waters.
The Leinster and Munster councils run qualifying events throughout the winter months, with Ulster and Connacht presenting a selection process. NCFFI members should contact their council representative if they want to be part of this event, to be hosted by the Munster Coarse Council in September 2024.
Details of qualifying matches can be found at https://www.ncffi.ie/eventscalendar.
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