Northern Ireland news

Crackdown launched on Co Fermanagh poachers

Authorities are set to clamp down on poaching in Co Fermanagh
Connla Young

Authorities have launched a crackdown on poaching in Co Fermangh.

Operation Silver Fin has been launched by officials from the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs, Loughs Agency the PSNI and An Garda Siochána to tackle unauthorised fishing on the Erne system.

The operation was originally launched on Lough Neagh several months ago and is designed at enforcing strict fishing regulations.

Illegal fishing usually involves the use of nets and long lines, methods that are often only permitted in certain areas.

Art Niven, Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs Inland Fisheries, Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer said: “Recreational fishing is an important part of the Co Fermanagh economy with local and visiting anglers contributing significantly towards this.

“Upper and Lower Lough Erne and the surrounding waters provide some of the best recreational fishing in Europe.”

Inspector Rory Hoy said the "PSNI are committed to tackling wildlife crime including fish poaching in conjunction with our partners.

“Wildlife crime is taken extremely seriously by the Police Service of Northern Ireland,” he added.

“The significance of this kind of crime cannot be over stated.”

The PSNI officer added that “at the most serious level it can have a direct impact on the economic, environmental and cultural lives of communities and can also negatively affect the conservation status of some native species."

John McCartney, who is the Loughs Agency's Director of Conservation and Protection also endorsed “the partnership approach to combating illegal fishing”.

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