14km of illegal netting seized

It would take two and a half hours to walk along the length of the illegal netting seized by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) last year.

The State agency responsible for the protection, management, and conservation of Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources seized 301 nets and 647 items of equipment.

The nets measured 14,055 metres, which, said IFI, would take two hours and 21 minutes to walk at a moderate pace.

Last year, 82 prosecution cases were initiated for breaches of fisheries and environmental legislation.

IFI also carried out 26,726 environmental inspections across a varied of sites, including farms, industrial premises, wastewater plants, forests, and wind farms.

General inspections for pollutants in the natural habitat were also carried out to avoid potential environmental incidents that could harm fish populations.

Over the year, 35,630 inspections were conducted to ensure anglers complied with the law to protect fish populations.

Minister of state with responsibility for inland fisheries, Sean Kyne, said fisheries contribute €836m to the economy every year and support more than 11,000 jobs, with many rural and peripheral communities benefitting from the tourism opportunities created by recreational angling.

“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 sector by IFI are all crucial in that regard,” said Mr Kyne.

Over the year, IFI staff covered 74,000km of rivers and streams, 128,000 hectares of lakes and 5,500km of coastline to protect fisheries and apprehend those responsible for illegal fishing and environmental offences.

There were 31,000 patrols with fisheries officers using advanced surveillance equipment including night vision and thermal imaging scopes.

Ciaran Byrne, CEO of IFI, said protecting the fisheries gave them 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 form neighbouring countries,” said Mr Byrne.

“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 IFI in protecting this important resource.”

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