A person found to be illegally sea fishing with a net in a restricted zone was successfully prosecuted last week in the Magistrates Court.
Fisheries Officers routinely patrol the Island's coasts. A restricted fishing zone has been in place since 2005 to protect stocks of migratory fish which are known to congregate around the north coast of the Island from Peel to Ramsey.
Whilst on routine patrol on 30 November 2014, officers noticed a vehicle had been driven onto the beach at The Lhen. With assistance from the Isle of Man Constabulary, Peter Glover - the driver, and his vehicle were stopped and searched, finding a boat, fishing equipment and two sea bass. On questioning, Mr Glover admitted he had been using a gill net to fish for sea bass.
Under Bye-Laws introduced in 2005, it is an offence to fish for any sea fish with a gill or other specified net in a restricted zone or to be in possession within a restricted zone of any such net for the purpose of catching or killing sea fish.
Driving a vehicle onto a beach without lawful authority is an offence under Section 28 of the Road Traffic Act 1985.
In a joint case brought by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and the Isle of Man Constabulary, the Magistrates Court found Mr Glover guilty of three offences, namely:
- Fishing in a restricted zone with a net – fine imposed £400;
- Being in possession of a net within a restricted zone for the purpose of catching or killing sea fish - £400 fine imposed, and boat, associated fishing equipment and fish ordered to be forfeit;
- Road Traffic offence – fine imposed £100 plus costs of £125.
- Fines and costs thereby totalled £1,025.
Richard Ronan MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
"The Department's Fisheries Officers work hard to safeguard and protect vulnerable stocks of migratory fish around our Island's coastlines, and I am grateful for the support of the police in this case. I hope that the outcome sends out a strong message that breaches of the regulations on sea fishing will not be tolerated."