Severe penalties for illegal perch fishing on Lough Derg

Inland Fisheries Ireland successfully prosecuted two individuals at Killaloe District Court recently where fines of €500 each were imposed for taking more than the legal amount of coarse fish on Lough Derg.  The two brothers, Roman and Vytas Maslauskas, originally from Lithuania but living in Ireland for the last 8 years, were also disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of 6 months.  Both men have 2 weeks within which to lodge an appeal.

Last year Inland Fisheries Ireland fisheries officers carried out a surveillance operation on the basis of reports received from both the public and local anglers on Lough Derg.  The brothers, who were fishing mainly for perch from a boat, were doing so in manner that did not appear to be for recreational purposes.  The anglers were capturing large numbers of fish using rod and line but had the aid of a fish finder on board the boat also.  The two individuals were apprehended at the lower end of the lake at the slipway in Ballina. the boat and a large quantity of fishing equipment  were seized during the capture.  32 perch were also seized of which eight were over the 25cm size limit for coarse fish. Two vans were used in the operation for transporting the fish and equipment.  In his comments at the end of the case Judge John Durkan stated “Our inland waters are of the most valuable in Europe and need to be well protected”.  He added that those who abuse them must face serious consequences.

‘Protecting our fisheries is never an easy task’ stated Minister Fergus O’Dowd, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, ‘ I commend the work of the Inland Fisheries Ireland staff, the Gardai and of course the anglers and members of the public who made this prosecution possible. Working together you have helped the environment and the potential of Lough Derg to generate a better return economically and socially to the local community’.

Lough Derg is a mixed fishery which holds good stocks of coarse, pike and trout and is a valuable natural asset to the local economy as it attracts both national and international anglers and visitors.

Ms Amanda Mooney, Director at Inland Fisheries Ireland, Limerick welcomed the ruling and stated today that “this result sends out a strong message that our wild fish populations must be protected.  IFI have invested in multi-lingual angling guides which detail and explain coarse fish byelaws .  There is no longer an excuse of not knowing what rules apply.  I would also like to thank the Gardai for their co-ordinating help in this matter”.

IFI continue to run a hotline where anyone can report such illegal activity 1890 FISH 24 or 1890 3474 24 day or night.


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