By the Tuam Herald
A BELFAST man who was caught fishing illegally on the Clare River near Claregalway was fined and had has gear confiscated at Galway District Court last week.
Island Fisheries Ireland Officers Conor Dennedy and Paul Reynolds told Judge Marie Keane that they were on a fot patrol on the Clare River in Claregalway on Monday, July 13, 2015. Mr. Dennedy saw an angler, later identified as John Beales of Glencolin Heights, Belfast, fishing downstream of the bridge. When Mr. Beales noticed the Fisheries Officer, he concealed his fishing equipment and walked towards him.
He denied he had been fishing when questioned by Officer Dennedy, however upon inspection of his van, Officer Dennedy found two salmon, one trout and two mounted fishing rods.
One of the salmon had a tag for the Foyle Fisheries Area issued to Mr. Beales affixed to it, which is only valid in the Foyle area. Mr. Beales became aggressive when questioned by the fisheries officers, and was later directed to leave the area by the Gardaí under the Public Order Act.
Initially, Inland Fisheries Ireland issued Mr. Beales with a fixed charge penalty notice for the offence. However, despite reminders, he did not pay. As a result, he was prosecuted and brought to court.
Judge Keane accepted the evidence of the fisheries officers and imposed fines totalling €900. as well as costs of €500. She also made a Forfeiture Order in respect of all items sealed on the day.
Afterwards, Dr. Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Protecting and conserving Ireland’s natural fisheries resource is hugely important as it offers us significant value from both a recreational and economic perspective. Inland Fisheries Ireland staff continue to work tirelessly to protect our fish and their habitats. Fisheries offences are common across the country and we will work to ensure that those who commit these offences are apprehended and prosecuted.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a 24 hour confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.