Angling Notes: Increase in illegal fishing recorded in 2020

Despite Covid travel restrictions, the number of prosecutions rose to 119 and 1,287 illegal fishing items were seized

 

Safeguarding Ireland’s fisheries is a round-the-clock job involving planned day patrols, covert night patrols and intelligence-led surveillance operations.

Despite the fact travel restrictions were in place for much of last year, our teams recorded a higher level of illegal fishing, compared with 2019, according to Dr Forde of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

A total of 119 prosecutions were initiated in 2020 compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019 – and 1,287 illegal fishing items seized, up from 788. Officers issued 240 fixed charge penalty notices and gave 756 cautions, up from 425. Unmanned drone patrols also became increasingly important, especially for difficult to reach terrains.

Officers undertook 33,051 patrols, a substantial increase from 28,276, despite Covid-19 related work challenges. The agency also credits advanced surveillance equipment for the higher detection rates – such as night vision scopes, infrared sensing scopes and enhanced optical surveillance scopes.

The most common methods for patrolling riverbanks, rivers, lakes and coastlines were: Vehicle and foot (30,882 patrols); Bicycle (1,227 patrols); Boat (573 patrols); Drone (136 patrols); Kayak (129 patrols); Personal watercraft (56 patrols) and Quad (46 patrols).

Two fined for illegally killing pike

Two men from Dundalk have been convicted of illegally killing pike and each ordered to pay fines of €300 at Dundalk District Court.

Fisheries officers outlined the facts before Judge Eirinn McKiernan of how the two men were observed illegally fishing on Drumcah Lough, taking and killing pike. The boat used was also seized and is now automatically forfeited.

Lough Ennell Trout Preservation Association

Lough Ennell Trout Preservation Association hosted a very enjoyable club fundraising fly-fishing competition last Sunday with over 60 anglers turning out, including some long-standing friends from Scotland.

By all accounts the day was a great success although only nine fish made the weigh-in.

“Plenty of fish out there, but the ones that got away were fabulous,” was a comment overheard.

Results: 1 A. Heffernan, 2lb 12oz; 2 R. Donlon, 2lb 11.5oz; 3 C. Lynch, 2lb 8oz. Other winners: V. O’Connell; J. Tyrrell; M. Flanagan; M. McGorian and N. Kenny. Special mention to main sponsors: I. Kelly; D. McBride; D. O’Malley; B. Conlon; S. Goulding; Garda AC and N. Shaw.

The association has set up a second competition before the end of the season with all proceeds going to St Brigid’s Special Needs School in Mullingar. The date is Sunday, October 3rd with fishing from 11am to 6pm. Entry fee is €20 and all are welcome, including non-members.

Huge tuna landed in salmon pen

Employees at the salmon farm Masoval got a rude awakening recently when they discovered a massive bluefin tuna of 270kg in one of their pens at Froyfjorden in Norway, according to Steve Hernes of Salmon Business.

Following a special licence granted by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, the big fish was removed and recapture nets were set out in case of escape. So far, only one salmon has been caught.

This was the fourth tuna caught in a salmon pen in the past month.

If you have an angling story to share, please send to me at angling@irishtimes.com.

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