Fisheries Inspector Lorraine O'Donnell, Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, Minister Sean Kyne T.D. and Fisheries Inspector Michael Hennessy at the launch of Inland Fisheries Ireland's Protection Review for 2016.
Fisheries Inspector Lorraine O’Donnell, Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, Minister Sean Kyne T.D. and Fisheries Inspector Michael Hennessy at the launch of Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Protection Review for 2016.

Inland Fisheries Ireland put 188,000 person hours into Fisheries Protection in 2016

Huge effort invested into safeguarding resource contributing €836m to Irish economy every year

 Inland Fisheries Ireland spent 188,404 person hours and carried out 31,180 patrols in 2016 to protect the fisheries resource, it was announced today at the launch of the Inland Fisheries Ireland Protection Review. The review highlights the results of recent protection work of the fisheries resource, which contributes €836 million to the Irish economy every year and supports 11,000 jobs.

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s programme saw fisheries officers patrol the entire resource which includes 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams, 128,000 hectares of lakes and 5,500 kilometres of coastline in their attempts to apprehend those responsible for illegal fishing and environmental offences.

Some key findings from the Fisheries Protection 2016 Review include:

  • 103 prosecution cases initiated for breaches of fisheries and environmental legislation, regarded as one of the most important tools in the prevention of illegal fishing activities in the long term.
  • 1,487 items of illegal fishing equipment seized, including 301 illegal fishing nets which measured 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 across a variety of sites including farms, industrial premises, wastewater plants, forestry sites, wind farms as well general inspections for pollutants in the natural habitat. Inspections were carried out by environmental officers with a view to mitigating 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.
Fisheries Inspector Josie Mahon utilising fisheries protection equipment.
Fisheries Inspector Josie Mahon utilising fisheries protection equipment.

Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, who 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.”

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.

“The resource contributes €836 million to the Irish economy every year and in particular, it supports rural and peripheral communities through tourism opportunities which may not be there otherwise. Our National Strategy for Angling Development outlines how we can grow the economic contribution by an additional €96 million per year and our protection programme goes hand in hand in helping us realise those ambitions.”

The fisheries protection programme comprised planned day and night patrols, covert patrols and intelligence led surveillance operations and specifically targeted the fish species most at risk during particular seasons. The principle methods used for patrols were boats (1,151 patrols), kayaks (188 patrols) and personal water crafts (37 patrols) while land based patrols were carried out using quad bikes (84 patrols), bicycles (363 patrols) and by vehicles and foot (29,357 patrols). In addition to the use of traditional methods, fisheries officers used advanced surveillance equipment including night vision scopes, thermal imaging scopes and enhanced optical surveillance scopes to help them in their work.

For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland and to view the Fisheries Protection Review, visit .