By Tom Gillespie
The news the Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) are 'taking the fight to the poachers' in order to protect wild fish stocks is most welcome.
And fishery protection officers are entering the fray with a new approach to tracking down those who persist in the illegal activity with the use of night vision scopes, thermal imaging equipment, covert cameras and sniffer dogs.
The west of Ireland, and Mayo in particular, is rich in salmon stocks. The world renowned River Moy is one of Europe's top wild salmon waterways.
The average salmon rod catch on the Moy over the last 10 years was 7,362 with the famous Ridge Pool in Ballina accounting for a staggering 2,660 rod-caught salmon in a single season.
It is reckoned that each rod-caught salmon is worth €500 to the local economy. This means a massive economic injection to the Ballina region of over €1.3 million annually.
This indicates the need to keep the poachers at bay.
The Minister of State for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd, addressing a conference on wildlife crime in Co. Meath last week said officers from IFI 'were taking the fight to the poachers' in an effort to protect Ireland’s image as a 'clean, green, environmentally friendly' country. More....