Dozens of wild Atlantic salmon that swam thousands of miles to spawn ended up in a Limerick city garden
PHOTOS on social media of men seemingly celebrating the capture of illegal poached salmon underscores the “utter incompetence” of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), according to Cllr Emmett O’Brien.
Three men are seen sitting down in their front garden posing for the photograph with thumbs up. It is understood that there are up to 60 salmon. It is believed that the endangered wild Atlantic salmon was dumped as it couldn't be sold.
“Shocking scenes from social media of wild salmon allegedly caught at the tail race Ardnacrusha. What are IFI and the ESB doing to stop poaching at the tailrace?” asked Cllr O'Brien.
He continued: “The dogs in the street know that poachers are putting out nets and catching salmon swimming in the tail race. These wild salmon, who swam thousands of miles to get to their native spawning grounds, are attracted to the tail race due to the strong current from the turbines.”
When the fish get there, they swim in anticipation of passing through Ardnacrusha and are “a captive audience for poachers to net them out illegally”, he said.
“It is understood these salmon are sold privately throughout the city. But bizarrely the IFI officers rarely if ever patrol the tail race but rather seem intent to race up and down the river in large power boats like Navy Seals,” said Cllr O’Brien.
On Sunday, July 25, IFI received reports from members of the public around illegal fishing activity on the River Shannon in Limerick city, said a spokesperson.
“IFI is currently investigating the circumstances of this incident and is therefore not in a position to comment further at this stage. IFI would like to thank the public for reporting this type of illegal activity. In the course of its work, IFI officers use a wide variety of overt and covert patrol methods, which include drones, long range spotting scopes and other covert methods in the apprehension of offenders,” said an IFI spokesperson.
An ESB spokesperson said they have been made aware of the alleged poaching incident.
“ESB, along with the wider angling community, was also shocked to see the photographs in question. ESB undertakes a number of fisheries conservation activities on an annual basis, including the operation of a salmon hatchery on the river Shannon at Parteen.
“It is important that these, and all other excellent fisheries conservation activities currently being carried out by IFI and local angling groups, are not undermined by the mindless actions of a few individuals. ESB is currently in discussion with IFI on this alleged incident and related matters,” said an ESB spokesperson.
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