Increase in illegal fishing activity recorded in Ireland’s inland waters in 2020

Photo: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland, the state agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, recorded an increase in illegal fishing activity in 2020.

As a result, the agency initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in the last year, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019. It also seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before.

Officers issued 240 fixed charge penalty notices last year, compared with 158 in 2019 and gave 756 cautions, up from 425 cautions in 2019.

The way in which Inland Fisheries Ireland patrols the country’s rivers and lakes also changed during Covid-19, with unmanned drone patrols becoming increasingly important, especially for difficult-to-reach terrains.

In total, officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland undertook 33,051 patrols of different types last year, a substantial increase on the previous year (28,276) despite Covid-19-related work challenges faced by officers.

The agency also credits higher detection rates with the use of advanced surveillance equipment, such as night vision scopes, infra-red sensing scopes and enhanced optical surveillance scopes.

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