Officers from the IFI carried out a number of inspections last summer on restaurants in Kinsale with a view to checking on whether illegally caught fish were present.
Bandon District Court heard that, at 9am on July 25, inspectors visited the Food U restaurant operated by Una Crosbie in the Co Cork town, and checked two freezers. In one, six individually wrapped salmon were found.
Solicitor for the IFI, Vincent Coakley, said it was “clear on visual inspection that they had been netted”, as the fish had marks on their scales.
He had earlier told Judge Mary Dorgan that it has been illegal for a number of years to net salmon offshore but it was “common knowledge” that illegally netting was still being carried out.
The six fish seized at the restaurant in Kinsale were then sent for genetic analysis, which determined that they had been caught off the Co Kerry coast.
In addition to having possession of the illegally caught fish, there was a second charge of not having tags on the salmon, as required by law. “It was in that context the inspection was carried out in a number of restaurants,” said Mr Coakley.
Diarmuid O’Shea, for Ms Crosbie, said his client had been working in the restaurant business for 20 years, had been involved with Food U for four to five years and this was the first time she had ever been in court.
“She was given these fish,” said Mr O’Shea, stressing that Ms Crosbie said the salmon were for personal use for her family and that she told inspectors at the time that they would not have been served in the restaurant.
“She should not have had them, she should not have had them tagged.”
Ms Crosbie, of Food U Restaurant, Pier Rd, Scilly, Kinsale, Co Cork, has no previous convictions and faced up to €3,600 in fines.
Judge Dorgan fined Ms Crosbie €75 for each of the six salmon, €200 on the conviction of not having the fish tagged, and told her to pay €450 towards the IFI’s costs in the case of €2,125.