Two anglers have recently appeared in court on charges relating to illegal fishing methods on the Cong River and fishing during the closed season. On Thursday, 23rd of May, Mr Mindaugas Jenkus of Claremorris, County Mayo and Mr Dalius Bureninas of Birr, County Offaly appeared in front of Judge Mary Fahy at Clifden District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation on the Cong River which occurred on the 9th of September 2018.
Both defendants represented themselves and pleaded guilty to strokehauling (using a weighted instrument or device with a rod and line or otherwise to foul-hook fish) and fishing out of season on the Cong River. Mr Bureninas also pleaded guilty to a further charge of obstruction under Section 301 (7) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.
Fisheries Officer Paul Reynolds outlined the facts of the case to the court while Assistant Fisheries Inspector Barry Kelly also told the court that the Cong River was a very important salmonid fishery with has a large run of atlantic salmon, a good stock of brown trout and is of particular conservation interest in relation to ferox trout for which the river is renowned. Fisheries Inspector Pat Gorman stated that these offences were very serious due to the conservation status of the Cong River when asked his opinion by Judge Fahy.
Judge Fahy commented on how serious a matter these offences were and referred to Mr Bureninas giving a false name and address when lawfully demanded. She also noted that Mr Jenkus had a recent conviction for a similar fisheries offence. Judge Fahy stated that if both defendants paid costs of €600 each to the Court at a sitting of Clifden District Court on the 26th of September, she may deal with the matter by way of a somewhat reduced fine. She also warned both men to be on their best behaviour and not to come to the attention of Inland Fisheries Ireland again as there was a risk of a custodial sentence being imposed.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “Salmon and sea trout angling in Ireland is worth €210 million to the Irish economy and supports 3,200 jobs often in rural communities. The Cong River is one of the main tributaries of Lough Corrib, is one of the most important salmon rivers in the west of Ireland and provides habitat for a very unique salmonid sub species, ferox trout. The Cong River is closed to angling during September as a conservation measure relating to both Atlantic salmon and ferox trout. The river attracts many anglers and tourists annually to fish for these unique wild salmonid species”.
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