Devon netsmen found guilty of setting illegal nets –

Devon netsmen found guilty of setting illegal nets Published:  13 April, 2007

TWO Devon fishermen have been ordered to pay £400 in costs after being found guilty of using an illegal net at Weare Giffard on the River Torridge at Bideford. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On August 14, 2006 two Environment Officers were undertaking a routine anti-poaching patrols on the River Torridge when they spotted a small wooden fishing boat heading up stream towards Landcross.

The officers, Paul Carter and Jeremy Boyd, spotted them again at Annery Kiln and then Weare Gifford where they were setting a net across the river.

The net remained in position for more than 25 minutes and therefore could be described as a fixed engine, which is illegal.

Shaun Kay, of Appledore, and John Shortridge, from Bideford, were stopped when they returned to the net and told they would be prosecuted.

Nets can only be set if the top of the net is 3 metres (10ft) below the surface of the sea so as to protect migrating salmon and sea trout.

“When approached and challenged John Shortridge removed three bass and two mullet from the net and released them. We asked to search the boat and the second net but it contained nothing,’ said Paul Carter.

The net being used by Kay and Shortridge was seized by the Environment Agency officers.

Shaun Kay, of The Mount, Appledore, and John Shortridge, of Alexandra Terrace, Bideford, Devon, were today found guilty of setting an illegal net in tidal waters by Barnstaple Magistrates and given a two-year conditional discharge. They were ordered to pay £200 each towards the costs.

Shortridge and Kay pleaded not guilty to the offence which is contrary to Section 6(1) and Schedule 4 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, as amended by Section 33 of the Salmon Act 1986. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.