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County Antrim landowner pleads guilty to unauthorised in river works



A County Antrim landowner pleaded guilty today at Ballymena Magistrates Court to fifteen offences of the Fisheries Act (NI) 1966.


Mr. Samuel McKeown (58) of Ballynashee Road, Ballymena, County Antrim pleaded guilty at Ballymena Magistrates Court to fifteen breaches of legislation prescribed under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, namely unauthorised in-river works as outlined within Section 48.


On the 8 April 2020, DAERA Fisheries Protection Officers received notification of in-river works taking place on the Glenwherry River.


On arrival at a part of the river above Pigtail Bridge it was evident that in-river works had taken place. Officers proceeded to speak with Mr. McKeown and instructed him to cease all works as there was no Section 48 permit issued that would permit these works to continue.

Mr. McKeown refused all requests to cease these works and was interviewed, and again instructed to cease these works on a further four occasions on the 11 April, 15 April, 17 April and 10 June 2020.


The River Maine has stocks of migratory salmonids through-out the catchment, including the Kells/Glenwherry river tributary and these stocks are monitored by routine electric fishing surveys.


Sentencing was adjourned to the 22 December 2021 pending further court investigations.


DAERA Inland Fisheries enforcement is committed to pursue those who actions have a detrimental effect on fishery habitat and fish passage. If you are aware or suspect illegal in-river works or fishing, you should contact DAERA Inland Fisheries on 0300 200 7860 or outside office hours contact 0800 807 060.


The months of March, April and May are when salmon smolts are move prevalent in river systems as they migrate.


An application for a section 48 permit should be submitted to DAERA Inland Fisheries for consideration before any in-river works should take place.