Drone patrols are being used to tackle a rise in illegal fishing, as prosecutions by the fisheries authority increased by more than 75 per cent in 12 months.
Dr Greg Forde, Inland Fisheries Ireland’s (IFI) head of operations, said drones were “extremely valuable” in providing leads when investigating suspicious activity. He said the aircraft, which were being used as a “supplement” to officers on the ground, could alert the agency to the presence of equipment and boats that required further investigation.
IFI recorded a spike in illegal fishing activity in 2020, with 119 prosecutions for “fisheries-related offences” initiated by the authority last year compared with 67 in 2019. The number of illegal fishing items seized grew to 1,287, up from 788 in 2019. The