Hastings fisherman pleads guilty to obstructing fisheries officer

Sussex IFCA News Release

A Hastings fisherman has been given a one year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £750 in costs by Hastings Magistrates Court, for the offence of obstructing a fisheries officer from the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

Simon J. Coglan, aged 47, of 4a Sturdy Place, Hastings pleaded guilty to the charge of obstructing a fisheries officer, under section 292(4) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The prosecution following an investigation arising from an inspection conducted by fisheries and conservation officers from the Sussex IFCA on the 11th October 2018.

On the 18th June 2019 the court heard that Mr. Coglan intentionally obstructed an enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s functions by evading inspection and trying to hide his catch of bass in a public waste bin.

The court’s verdict followed the issuing of two administrative penalties by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, to the total value of £250, to Mr Coglan for offences committed on the same date. The court heard that the administrative penalties were in respect to illegal commercial fishing for bass with nets from the shore, and the retention of bass below the legal minimum size.

Sussex IFCA has a duty to manage the sustainable exploitation of sea fisheries resources and take necessary steps to balance socio-economic considerations with the need to protect and promote the recovery of the marine environment.

Commenting on the case Chief Fisheries and Conservation Officer Tim Dapling said “The obstruction of a fisheries officer is regarded by the Authority as a serious offence. This is reflected within the law, as such an offence cannot be addressed by means of a financial penalty and requires courts to consider these offences.”

“The Authority hopes this provides a clear message that, individuals should always cooperate with fisheries officers whilst they undertake their work to protect stocks promote sustainable fisheries.”