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Some of the proceedings initiated on salmon rivers in autumn have been concluded with penalties imposed on the offenders

Aiahargist tehtud ahing
Selliste vahenditega tullakse kudevaid lõhelisi püüdma

The Environmental Inspectorate concluded part of the proceedings initiated in autumn during the spawning season for Salmonids and penalties have been imposed on the offenders. Depending on the circumstances, the fines range from a few hundred to 800 euros, plus compensation for environmental damage. Most of the proceedings, including two criminal proceedings, are still pending.

Of the misdemeanour cases processed so far, the harshest possible penalty, i.e. an 800-euro fine, was imposed on two men who placed entrapment nets to River Valgejõgi during the closed season. They had not managed to catch anything yet and, therefore, no environmental damage was caused.

Two men were fined 400 and 240 euros for catching Salmonids on River Kunda with hooks. One of the men had not caught any fish, but the other had caught a salmon, for which the man had to pay compensation for the environmental damage in addition to the fine.

Persons owning a fishing spear or catching fish with a fishing spear were caught on two occasions. The proceedings against them have not been concluded.
Proceedings have been initiated for a variety of reasons, including unauthorised fishing or fishing in closed areas. However, not all violations detected on salmon rivers are related to Salmonid fishing – for example, inspectors also detected violations related to catching lamprey.

If in previous years, the most serious violations were detected on the salmon rivers of Harju County, then last year, the more serious violations were detected in Lääne-Viru County. In the case of two misdemeanour proceedings, elements of a criminal offence were discovered and these cases will be continued to be processed pursuant to criminal procedure. One of the cases concerns electric fishing on River Mustoja, the other case concerns illegal lamprey fishing. In both cases, the environmental damage caused by fishing exceeded 4,000 euros, which is the basis for initiating criminal proceedings. Both proceedings are still pending.

Inspectors of the inspectorate from other areas and several cooperation partners, such as the police (which also includes dog handlers with service dogs in addition to patrolmen), the Defence League, and volunteers from the Estonian Recreational Fishing Association assisted in inspecting the salmon rivers of Northern Estonia.

Cooperation with the volunteers of the Estonian Recreational Fishing Association took place for the first time and went very well. Most of the violations committed in Lääne-Viru county were identified in cooperation with the volunteers of the Estonian Recreational Fishing Association and the police.

‘If we compare the data of the previous two years, then in 2018, a total of 19 misdemeanour proceedings were initiated on salmon rivers, while in 2019, the number was 29,’ said Aare Pai, Chief Inspector of the Fish Protection Department of the Environmental Inspectorate.

Thanks to the increased response capability and additional forces, many violations were certainly prevented, but in spite of all our efforts, there were still those who were willing to risk getting caught and attempt fishing using illegal fishing gear and employing prohibited methods,’ Pai added.

The Environmental Inspectorate acknowledges and thanks all of its partners for their contribution and hopes that their effective and successful cooperation continues in the future.

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