Man sentenced for salmon poaching

A 31-year-old man has been sentenced after admitting a salmon poaching offence in Moray.

Joel Julienne, from Glasgow, was sentenced at Elgin Sheriff Court on Thursday 26 January having previously pled guilty to fishing for salmon on the River Spey.

Julienne and Barry McKinlay, 31, admitted obstructing a water bailiff who attempted to detain them. McKinlay also pled guilty to possession of cannabis.

The court granted the prosecutors motion for the forfeiture of four fishing rods, various lures, tackle, bags and clothing

Julienne was fined £240 and McKinlay was fined £280.

Speaking after the sentencing, Fiona Caldwell, who leads on wildlife and environmental crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: 

“Salmon poaching is a wildlife crime. 

 The specialist prosecutors within the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit take all reports of this nature seriously.

 “We are committed to taking appropriate prosecutorial action against those found to have been involved in such offences in our waterways and would encourage anyone who may have information on salmon poaching to contact the police or other relevant enforcement authorities." 

Roger Knight, Director of the Spey Fishery Board said:

“The Spey Fishery Board is pleased with the successful outcome of this case.

 “Anglers travel from all over the world to fish the River Spey, spending millions of pounds which secures almost 400 jobs and supports an often fragile rural economy.

 “Illegal fishing impacts upon all of this and our Water Bailiffs will continue to work tirelessly to protect the River Spey and its iconic Atlantic salmon from the damage caused by these criminals.

 “Unfortunately, there has been an upsurge in cases of illegal fishing on the River Spey during the last year with more cases reported for prosecution.

 “This case should act as a deterrent and shows that those who take part in such illegal activities will be caught, arrested and prosecuted.”

The court heard that Julienne was spotted fishing with rod and line on the River Spey, upstream of the Telford Bridge, Craigellachie on Sunday 11 April 2021 by a water bailiff. It is an offence to fish for or take salmon on a Sunday.

The water bailiff contacted police for assistance before being approached by Julienne and McKinlay.  The bailiff saw that the lures on their fishing rods were black flying condoms or black flying c's which are used when attempting to catch salmon lawfully on the River Spey.

The men told him they were not trying to catch salmon but were fishing for pike. Pike are not found in the section of the river where Julienne had been fishing. Pike are found in still loch waters or slow flowing rivers and not the fast running water of the lower sections of the River Spey which is classified as the fastest river in the United Kingdom.

Julienne and McKinlay were asked to provide their details and told the police were on route. They refused to do so, with Julienne not responding and McKinlay saying he would not provide his details. Despite repeated requests to stay they left the area.

The police stopped their silver Mitsubishi Shogun on the Rothes to Elgin road near to Birkenhill soon afterwards. They saw fishing rods and other fishing equipment in the car and made them aware of the allegations of salmon poaching. The police were invited to search the car and found a small glass jar containing cannabis on the rear seat.

Julienne and McKinlay were arrested and taken to Elgin Police Station. The car and fishing gear was seized.

At the police station Julienne said that the drugs belonged to McKinlay. McKinlay then admitted that the drugs were his. Julienne also stated, "no fish, no evidence. I didn't even catch anything".