301 Illegal Fishing Nets Confiscated

Inland Fisheries Ireland announced that it seized 647 items of illegal fishing equipment and 301 illegal fishing nets measuring 14,055 metres (8.6 miles) in 2017.

The agency’s Fisheries Protection statistics for 2017 also reveal that it carried out 26,726 environmental inspections and 35,630 inspections of recreational anglers last year, putting 187,426 person hours into protecting Ireland’s fishing resource.

“Fisheries contributes €836 million to the Irish economy every year and supports over 11,000 jobs, many of which are in rural and peripheral communities which benefit from tourism opportunities related to recreational angling, so I want to commend Inland Fisheries Ireland for the vital work they do, often in challenging geographical locations and during unsocial hours,” said Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries.

“The quality of our natural environment and aquatic habitat is inextricably linked to the appeal of Ireland as an angling and holiday destination, so the fisheries protection, public information campaigns and strategic development of the sector conducted by IFI are all crucial in that regard.”

Inland Fisheries Ireland staff patrol 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, 128,000 hectares of lakes and 5,500 kilometres of coastline in their attempts to protect the resource and apprehend those responsible for illegal fishing and environmental offences.

“Protecting the fisheries resource is just one key element of our work,” says Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland. “Protection gives us a platform to develop the sector. Ireland holds a very special place in Europe in terms of ecology and climate and, as a consequence, has extremely important fish stocks unique from neighbouring countries. Salmon and trout stocks are indicative of good water quality and the preservation of these key species in addition to our significant populations of coarse fish is a vital part of the role of Inland Fisheries Ireland in protecting this important resource.”

Some key findings from the Fisheries Protection statistics for 2017 include:

  • 82 prosecution cases initiated for breaches of fisheries and environmental legislation, regarded as one of the most important tools in the prevention of illegal fishing activities in the long term.
  • 647 items of illegal fishing equipment seized, including 301 illegal fishing nets which measured 14,055 metres (8.6 miles) in total, or nearly a 2 hours and 21 minutes’ walk at a moderate pace.
  • 26,726 environmental inspections across a variety of sites including farms, industrial premises, wastewater plants, forestry sites, wind farms as well general inspections for pollutants in the natural habitat. Inspections were carried out by environmental officers with a view to mitigating potential environmental incidents which could have a detrimental impact on fish populations and fish habitats.
  • 35,630 inspections of recreational anglers carried out nationwide to ensure anglers were compliant with the fisheries acts, which aim to protect fish populations.
  • 31,000 patrols, comprising planned day and night patrols, covert patrols and intelligence-led surveillance operations and specifically targeted around the fish species most at risk during particular seasons, with local staff on 24/7, 365 availability.

Inland Fisheries Ireland is also inviting the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource during the year by reporting incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species to itsconfidential hotline number telephone 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland and to view the Fisheries Protection statistics 2017, please visit http://www.fisheriesireland.ie/extranet/fisheries-protection/1514-fisheries-protection-review-2017-key-statistics.html.



The principle methods used for patrols were boats (873 patrols), kayaks (190 patrols) and personal water crafts (30 patrols) while land-based patrols were carried out using quad bikes (18 patrols), bicycles (489 patrols) and by vehicles and foot (29, 899 patrols). In addition to the use of traditional methods, fisheries officers used advanced surveillance equipment including night vision scopes, thermal imaging scopes and enhanced optical surveillance scopes to help them in their work.

Fisheries Protection

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is responsible for ensuring the protection and conservation of Ireland’s fisheries resource, the fish and their habitats in both inland waterways and out to a twelve mile limit off the coast from baselines. The species protected comprise all freshwater fish species including migratory species such as salmon, sea trout, eel as well as lamprey. IFI is also responsible for protecting certain molluscs including oysters and through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency enforces bass fisheries legislation.

In addition to enforcing the provisions of the Fisheries Acts 1959 to 2010, IFI is empowered to enforce the Water Pollution Acts 1977 & 1990 when discharges to fisheries sensitive locations impacts on water leading to deterioration in water quality and on occasion fish kills.

Illegal Nets

The figure of nearly 2.5 hours to walk the length of illegal nets confiscated is based on 10 minutes per kilometre, i.e. moderate pace, or 2 hours and 21 minutes: https://www.verywellfit.com/miles-and-kilometers-how-far-is-that-3435412.

About Minister Kyne

Minister Kyne is the Minister of State at the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment with policy responsibility for the Inland Fisheries Sector.

About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.

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