Inland Fisheries Ireland has won a circuit court case against a man from Co. Louth who appealed a district court case for illegal salmon fishing
The appeal was heard and Mr Smith was ordered to pay two fines totalling e600 and costs of e2,369 to Inland Fisheries Ireland at Dundalk Circuit Court on Friday, May 11 last.
The court heard that Mr Smith was found to be illegally fishing in September 2010.
Fisheries officers Thomas Duffy, Dermot Wynne and Ronan O’Brien from the Dundalk district apprehended him with a fixed net at the shores of Annagassan, which is the tidal section of the Dee and Glyde rivers, and initiated court proceedings.
Mr Smith was convicted and fined e600 and ordered to pay total costs of e880 to Inland Fisheries Ireland on April 14, 2011.
He appealed this case on two counts, first on the townland where the incident took place and the second on the severity of the sentence.
The first count was dropped by the defendant just before proceedings began in the circuit court. On the second count witness Assistant Inspector Ronan O’Brien gave evidence of events of the day in question and outlined that all rivers on the East Coast with the exception of the River Fane were closed for salmon fishing due to declining salmon stocks.
Judge Terry O’Sullivan stated that the offence committed was serious and had to be treated as such because salmon stocks were in decline around the country and were an important part of our heritage.
He ordered Mr Smith to pay both fines totalling e600 within six months by default or face six months imprisonment. He also ordered him to pay total costs of e2,369 to Inland Fisheries Ireland and gave him six months to pay.
In 2006 Inland Fisheries Ireland introduced a series of conservation measures in order to combat the decline in salmon numbers.
At the peak of salmon production in the 1970’s, approximately 3,000 salmon were caught commercially in Dundalk waters. This declined to an all time low in 2006 when only 225 were caught in the entire Dundalk bay area.
As a result, all the rivers on the East coast with the exception of the River Fane were closed for salmon fishing.
The Castletown, Glyde and Dee rivers re-opened for catch and release only earlier this year.