A landowner in Co Antrim has pleaded guilty at Ballymena Court to 15 offences under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966.

Samuel McKeown, aged 58, from Ballynashee Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim, was before the court on Wednesday 24 November for unauthorised in-river works on the Glenwhirry river following a Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) inspection.

The Department was notified of in-river works taking place on the river and visited the site.

On arrival, it was evident that in-river works had taken place, according to fisheries protection officers.

No permit

The officers proceeded to instruct Mr McKeown to cease all works as there was no Section 48 permit issued that would allow these works to continue.

The Department said 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 11 April, 15 April, 17 April and 10 June 2020.

Sentencing was adjourned to 22 December 2021.

According to the Department, the river in question has stocks of migratory salmonids and during the months of March, April and May salmon smolts are prevalent in river systems as they migrate.

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

DAERA Inland Fisheries enforcement has said it is committed to pursuing those whose 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.