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20 May 2022

Illegal salmon fishing costs man almost €1,900 in fines and costs

Illegal salmon fishing costs man almost €1,900 in fines and costs

Ballyshannon courthouse

A Ballyshannon man, who admitted catching four salmon illegally and fishing in a river where it was prohibited, had to pay a total of €1899.91 in total fines and costs at the district court. 

Niall Patton, Ashbrook Drive, Ballyshannon pleaded guilty to a charge that he took a salmon by rod and line contrary to Article 3 of the Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout on closed rivers. 

The defendant also pleaded guilty to having four salmon unlawfully captured on August 12 last year at Townparks, Ballyshannon. 

A related charge of having untagged salmon was struck out in a case brought by the Inland Fisheries of Ireland. 

A Fisheries Officer gave evidence of observing the defendant playing and hooking a salmon at the Mall Quay when the river was closed for fishing for salmon. 

He put the salmon in the boot of the car which contained four salmon, the court heard. 

The defendant had a local fishing licence which did not cover him and the rod and fish were seized. 

Defence Solicitor Edmund Henry said the defendant had been co-operative and had written a letter of apology to VP McMullin Solicitors showing his remorse. 

There was an early plea from a family man with an unblemished record in all respects, who was a former resident of Ballyshannon who previously had licences to fish. 

He had been home, and it was a piece of nostalgia as he was leaving Ballyshannon. 

The defendant knew it was wrong and very foolish and he fully understood the need for conservation of fishing stock on rivers. 

It was totally out of character and Mr Henry asked the court to deal with the matter in another way 

Solicitor for the Inland Fisheries of Ireland (IFI), Kevin McElhinney said it was a serious issue for conservation and the fact that four salmon were taken made it more serious and he could not accept that request. 

Judge Sandra Murphy noted that three of the salmon were female which meant a breeding loss as well. 

Mr Henry said the defendant had a local fishing licence but the offence for fishing on close rivers came in last year and he was not by nature a poacher. 

It was unusual circumstances, and the solicitor asked the court to take into consideration the defendant’s abject apology and this would never happen again. 

Mr McElhinney said the IFI had costs of €749.91 

Mr Henry said his client would pay it immediately. 

Judge Murphy said it was a serious offence and the defendant knew perfectly well what he was doing and taking four salmon was very significant. 

The judge fined the defendant €500 on the first count and €250 on the third count and €100 for each salmon which made total fines of €1,150. 

And when the IFI costs of E749.91 are added, it meant the defendant had to pay a total of €1899.91.

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