The sale of salmon, trout, eels and molluscan fish is regulated and subject to licensing.  It is an offence to purchase, sell or export for sale or keep for sale or have in possession any unseasonable salmon or trout or to purchase, sell, keep, or have in possession any salmon, trout, eel or molluscan shell which has been unlawfully captured.

The salmon conservancy fund was established in 1954.  It formerly included a two percent levy on exports of salmon.  It is intended to be earmarked subsequent to the income of the regional boards and used for fisheries’ improvement schemes.

A salmon levy was established under the 1980 Act and later ceased. A National Salmon Commission was established by the 1999 Act.  It was constituted by a ministerial order.  Its functions are to advise the Minister in relation to conservation, management, protection and development of the national salmon resource.

It is to make recommendations to the Minister on any scheme in relation to management, development of stocks of wild salmon or sea trout and in particular a tagging of such fish, and setting of a national total catch and quotas for taking of salmon, in consultation with IFI and the Marine Institute.

Close Season

A close season under fisheries legislation is a period during which fishing is forbidden.  It usually  corresponds to the species’  spawning season.  There are provisions for a number of annual close seasons for salmon, trout, eels, pollan, oysters and molluscs. There may be local by laws for close season.  In other cases, a fixed close seasons are prescribed or regulations are made.

Fisheries Consolidation Act provides a weekly close time in respect of salmon and trout fishing other than by rod.  Breach is in offence which may be to try summarily or on an indictment in certain cases.

Salmon fishing opens on January 1 on a handful of rivers and after that the remainder of rivers open on various dates in February, March, April and May. The majority of rivers close on September 30th but some rivers remain open for sea trout fishing to October 12.

Part 9 of the  Act provides for fishing seasons for salmon, trout, pollock and eel.  It is an offence to fish or assist in fishing for salmon or trout outside the open season.  There is a penalty on summary conviction together with a further amount per fish in respect of which an offence is committed.  All salmon and trout caught and every fish engine shall be forfeited on conviction.

All fixed engines, salmon fishing weirs, fishing mill dams and nets it must be dismantled during the close season for trout and salmon.

Conservation Byelaws

The Salmon and Trout Conservation byelaw are an important pieces of fisheries legislation notwithstanding that it is constituted by way of byelaws. The national byelaws are made each  season. They seek to create a single standard for nets rather than having different standards under local by-laws.

The byelaws specify the  opening dates for commercial salmon fishery and the closing date and the weekly close times. They makes specific provision for driftnets and other types of fishing on specific estuaries. It prohibits possession of specified nets during the annual close season. Thet prohibit fishing with driftnets between certain times on certain dates outside  tidal waters.

It is prohibited to  take fish or salmon or trout with a draft net, snap net or other net to aid or assist on such fishing during the relevant periods.

The byelaws also stipulate close seasons with respect to various types of nets.  It is prohibited to have any net on  board any boat or other vehicle with the intention of taking fish during the period specified in the Byelaws.

Other Prohibitions

It is prohibited to use in fishing for salmon or trout any drift net in tidal waters or any draft net, snap net or other net made wholly on monofilament or multi-strand monofilament.  It is prohibited to have on board of boat or have in possession for the capture of salmon or trout on any quay, adjacent to it or any bank  any such net meant or otherwise prepared for use in fishing for salmon or trout made wholly or  partly of monofilament or of multi-strand monofilament.

It is an offence to use a boat for the capture of salmon or trout during the close season, otherwise where such use is by a person lawfully angling by rod license, if applicable.

There are offences in relation to catching of salmon, trout and course fish by unlawful means such as damming, teeming or emptying the river.  Taking of salmon trout or course fish found dead or unlawfully killed is prohibited.

A person who purchases, sells, exports for sale has in his possession any unseasonable salmon or trout is guilty of an offence.   It is also an offence to purchase, sell, expose for sale, keep for sale, or have in one’s possession salmon, eel, molluscan or shellfish caught unlawfully. The onus is on the defendant to prove lawful captured in possession.


The legislation  provides for a National Scheme of tagging of wild salmon and sea trout and enforcement thereof.

The Minister after consultation with the National Salmon Commission may make regulations to provide for a scheme for management, development and conservation of stocks of wild salmon and sea trout and in particular, provide for gathering of information by tagging. They cover

  • types of tags,
  • information to be contained
  • matters relating to distribution of tags and logbooks to persons fishing
  • matters relating to sales, display and import,
  •  records to be kept by dealers in registers by providers of tags in logbooks,
  • inspections by authorised officers,
  • registers and records

Contravention of the regulations is an offence.

The Salmon Conservancy Fund

“the Fund” is the  Salmon Conservancy Fund  The Minister may from time to time by order provide that no person shall export salmon unless there is produced at the time of exportation evidence in such form as may be prescribed of the payment at the prescribed rate of levy on such salmon.

The Minister may, from time to time, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, by regulations prescribe the rate of levy to be paid on salmon for  export and the manner of payment.  Different rates of levy may be prescribed for different periods. (

The Minister may from time to time by order provide that the levy may be prescribed at a specified rate exceeding two pence per lb. but no such order shall have effect unless and until it is confirmed by resolution of each House of the Oireachtas.

Inland Fisheries Ireland and every other person collecting levy shall as soon as may be pay to the Minister all sums so collected. The Minister may from time to time, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, pay into the Fund out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas such sums as may be required to enable payments to be made. Payments into the Fund under this subprovision may be made either by way of grant or of advances repayable on such terms as may be approved by the Minister for Finance.

The Minister may pay out of the Fund such sums as he thinks proper to supplement the income of Inland Fisheries Ireland whose income in any year appears to him to be insufficient to defray the expenses of Inland Fisheries Ireland in the performance of its duties,  such sums towards the expenses incurred in connection with any scheme for the improvement of the inland fisheries as the Minister thinks proper.

The Minister may make regulations requiring persons by whom levy is payable under this provision or any class of such persons to be registered in the prescribed manner, to keep such records and afford such facilities for their inspection and to furnish such returns as may be prescribed.

Any person who contravenes, whether by action or omission, any regulation made under this shall be guilty of an offence und shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding €1,000.

The Minister may at any time, if he thinks fit, order an inquiry into the performance of its duties by Inland Fisheries Ireland and may appoint any person to hold such an inquiry.

EU Regulation

The European Communities regulations on Quality of Salmonid Waters Regulations enforces the EU directive on freshwater.  Salmonid waters are defined by reference to their geographical location.  They must meet water quality standards set out in the regulation.  Samplings taken place by local authority and must meet prescribed parameters.

Local authorities are obliged to enforce a standard.  They must adopt an action program to include appropriate measures to reduce pollution to ensure that the standards are met. Local authorities must keep a register of the samples taken.  It must be available for inspection at the offices of the local authority during working hours.

The Minister may declare  special tidal areas of rivers or estuaries in which were not less than 20 years prior to 1st January 1933 a several fishery was believed to exist and was enjoyed as of  right but in respect of which it was either after 1933 judicially determined that no several fishery existed or the person who on 1st January 1933 exercised the right does not nor does any other person claim to have or enjoy has a right of several fishery in such tidal water.

It is an offence for a person using in any special tidal waters any kind of fishing engine for the purpose of salmon or trout unless the person holds a special local licence.

Sea Fishing

Salmon fisheries and fishing is excluded from the Common Fisheries Policy.  Until 2006, salmon fishing could be permitted within six miles of shore subject to license.

Steps are taken to reduce the number of licenses for draft and drift net.  The Season was reduced.  In 2006, the government banned drift-net salmon fishing and established scheme for relief of hardship of those previously licensed.

Coarse Fish

ByeLaw NO. 806, 2006 provides for the following conservation measures:

  • A person shall not take and kill by any means more than 4 coarse fish on any one day.
  • A person shall not take and kill by any means any coarse fish greater than 25 cm in length measured in a straight line from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail.
  • Any coarse fish taken inadvertently in contravention of this Bye-law must be handled carefully and returned without avoidable injury to the waters from which they have been taken

It is prohibited for any person, other than in the Louth Area or Moville Area, to sell or offer for sale any coarse fish caught by any means.
“Louth Area” has the meaning assigned to it by section 31 of the British –Irish Agreement Act 1999 (No.1 of 1999);
“Moville Area” has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Foyle Fisheries Act 1952 (No.5 of 1952).

It is prohibited to use or attempt to use live fish as bait in fishing in fresh water. It is prohibited to transfer for any purpose live roach (Rutilus rutilus) from any waters to any other waters.
It is prohibited to fish for pike or coarse fish by any means whatsoever other than by rod and line. A person may not attempt to fish for pike or coarse fish in freshwater with more than two (2) rods at any one time.

LOUGH RAMOR CONSERVATION OF COARSE FISH (CATCH AND RELEASE) BYE-LAW NO. 862, 2009: This Bye-law provides for catch and release in respect of coarse fish in the harbour area of Lough Ramor. The Byelaw also prohibits the possession of any coarse fish or keep net in, or on the banks of, the harbour area and provides for the use of single barbless hooks only in angling for coarse fish.

Eel fishing is closed.

Conservation of Eel Fishing Bye-Law No. C.S. 319, 2015 prohibits the taking, or attempting to take, fishing for or attempting to fish for, aiding or assisting the taking of or fishing for, eel in any fishery district in the State. It also prohibits being in possession of, selling or offering for sale or reward, or purchasing eel caught or taken by any means in any fishery district in the State.


The CONSERVATION OF PIKE BYE-LAW NO. 809, 2006 provides for the following conservation measures:

It is prohibited to kill more than 1 pike in any one day. It is prohibited to kill any pike greater than 50 cm in length,
It is prohibited for any person to have in their possession more than 1 whole pike less than 50 cm or more than 0.75 kgs of pike flesh.

It is prohibited for a person to have in his or her possession more than 12 coarse fish for use as bait in fishing for pike Where a person has more than 4 coarse fish in his or her possession for use as bait in fishing for pike, the person, in respect of fish in excess of that number and subject to the above  must have – Obtained the fish from a fish tackle dealer or fish bait supplier registered with the Regional Board in whose fisheries Region the dealer or supplier carries on business, and  Obtained and retained a receipt of their purchase.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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