Two men in Dundalk have been convicted of illegally killing pike and have been ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Mr. Ernestas Gaska, with an address of Riverside Drive, Dundalk Co. Louth, received a €300 fine following his conviction at Dundalk District Court on Thursday, September 2nd 2021.

Also in Dundalk District Court on the same date, Mr. Arturas Bagvilas, with an address of Bothair Na Carraig in Dundalk, received a €300 fine as well, following his conviction.

Inland Fisheries Ireland Officers, who had been on routine fisheries patrol in the area, outlined the facts of the case to the court of how Mr Gaska and Mr. Bagvilas had been observed in the act of illegal fishing on Drumcah Lough, taking and killing pike.

As a statutory consequence of the conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the boat that was seized by Inland Fisheries Ireland is now automatically forfeited.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Eirinn McKiernan and breaches of Fisheries legislation occurred on Sunday, October 11th last year, in the townland of Annagh, close to the Louth and Monaghan border.

According to Inland Fisheries Ireland, which is the state agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, there was an increase in illegal fishing activity recorded by its Officers around the country last year.

The state agency initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in 2020, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019. It also seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before.

To report suspicions of illegal fishing, members of the public are encouraged to call Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24, which is open 24 hours a day.