Last year Inland Fisheries Ireland confiscated a whopping 14.7 km of illegal fishing nets – that’s enough net to stretch from Leinster House to Dublin Airport.
One net alone confiscated last June in Mayo was 900m long, twice the length of Grafton Street. Nets like these decimate fish populations and have a destructive impact on other marine life.
This information has been revealed in the newly launched 2016 Fisheries Protection Review. Last year the program carried out over 31,000 patrols across 74,000 km of rivers and stream, 128,00 hectares of lakes and 5,500 km of coastline.
They patrol our waters to apprehend those responsible for illegal fishing and environmental offences. The patrols are carried out both during the day and night often using advanced surveillance equipment.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “The role of Inland Fisheries Ireland is to act as steward of the inland fisheries resource and that role is crucial as we endeavour to protect and conserve Ireland’s aquatic habitat and the wild, indigenous fish populations who live within it. Our fisheries and environmental officers worked relentlessly in 2016 to ensure the continued availability of this resource to communities nationwide for recreational and business opportunities.”
Some of the key findings of the report include:
- 103 prosecution cases initiated for breaches of fisheries and environmental legislation.
- 1487 items of illegal fishing equipment seized including 301 illegal fishing nets 14,782 metres in total, approximately the same distance it takes to travel from Leinster House on Kildare Street to Dublin Airport.
- 22,066 environmental inspections carried out with a view to mitigate against potential environmental incidents which could have a detrimental impact on fish populations and fish habitats.
- 36,979 inspections of recreational anglers carried out nationwide to ensure anglers were compliant with the fisheries acts, which aim to protect fish populations.
Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, who today opened Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Oireachtas Briefing Day event said, ”close to 200,000 man hours speaks for itself but I want to commend Inland Fisheries Ireland for the immense and dedicated efforts they have put into protecting our invaluable inland fisheries resource. The vast array of river, lake and coastal based habitats present huge logistical challenges for our front line protection staff and for Inland Fisheries Ireland Management. These challenges are being met by augmenting traditional patrol and protection methods with state-of-the-art surveillance technologies and new and innovative patrol methods in the ever changing environment in which services are delivered.”