A Kerry farmer has been fined €3,300 for carrying out works on a river which damaged sensitive salmon spawning grounds.
Raymond Breen, a farmer from Gearha, Beaufort appeared before Caherciveen District Court on December 10th last in a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland.
The Gaddagh River, a tributary of the River Laune and in a Special Area of Conservation, is an important spawning habitat for Atlantic Salmon, a species protected under Irish and European law.
The court heard that an inspection by Inland Fisheries Ireland officers discovered substantial amounts of spawning gravel removed from the river and stock-piled along a 250 metre section of the bank.
Heavy machinery tracks were recorded across the riverbed; the court heard the engine of an earth mover at the site was hot when discovered but the driver couldn't be located.
Director of the South Western River Basin District at Inland Fisheries Ireland, Sean Long said this is a serious environmental crime and the removal of gravel will directly impact on the already endangered Atlantic salmon.
Judge David Waters convicted Raymond Breen and fined him €3,300 plus costs under the Fisheries Consolidation Act (1959) for carrying out works which damaged the sensitive spawning beds.