Fisherman fined for using illegal net in exclusive yachting marina

Environment Agency news Release

A Dorset man was today (11 December, 2007) ordered to pay £1,307 in fines and costs after he set an illegal gill net at the Royal Motor Yacht Club on the exclusive Sandbanks peninsula. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On July 16, 2007, during a joint crime prevention operation in Poole Harbour led by Dorset police a Sea Fisheries Officer found a man retrieving a net into a boat just inside the entrance to the marina. Fixed nets are banned in the harbour at this time of the year to protect migrating salmon and sea trout that pass through the area on their way to local rivers.

The Sea Fisheries officer alerted Environment Agency Water Bailiffs who on arrival saw Adam Harding in a boat moored alongside a wall. Inside the boat, known locally as a ‘Poole Canoe’, was a monofilament net, one end of which was secured by a rope to some sea wall railings.

Also in the boat was a box containing 31 grey mullet worth approximately £50. The officer told Harding he was seizing the net that measured 75-80 metres and had earlier been fixed in a main channel between a pontoon and raised concrete wall close to a number of moored yachts.

When first approached, the fisherman was trying to free the net after it became entangled around the end of a pontoon and some nearby boats. A fixed net poses a much greater risk to migrating salmon and sea trout when it is set close to the surface as they are less likely to escape its meshes.

Asked if the Royal Motor Yacht Club was aware he was laying nets in its marina, Harding said, ’Yes, it’s OK, I drive a boat for them in the day.’

‘As the owner of a licensed fishing boat, this fisherman has a responsibility to familiarise himself with local bylaws and should have known better than to use a fixed net in this way. By placing it inside the marina he was able to fish a location he would not normally be able to fish. It was a deliberate act,’ said Stuart Kingston-Turner for the Environment Agency.

Adam Harding, of Well Lane, Poole was today (11 December, 2007) fined £300 and ordered to pay £1007 costs by by East Dorset Magistrates sitting in Bournemouth after pleading guilty to, on July 16, 2007, placing an unauthorised fixed engine, namely a net, in tidal waters contrary to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and Salmon Act 1986.