A 67 year-old unlicenced boatowner was successfully prosecuted by Cornwall IFCA for illegal catching and retention of European sea bass
Prosecution for Retaining Bass: Cornwall IFCA Ensures Compliance with Conservation Laws
Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) successfully prosecuted David Paul Ingram (67) of Mousehole, Cornwall, the master and owner of the unlicensed vessel ‘Tergeron’.
Ingram faced charges related to the use of a net for catching and retaining European seabass in violation of recreational fishing regulations.
The case, heard at Truro Magistrates Court on 24 January 2024, revealed that Ingram was found in breach of regulations when routine inspections by Cornwall IFCA officials on 3 August 2023 uncovered 17 bass and a gill net on his vessel. Initially denying the use of a net and claiming he had only caught two mackerel with rod and line, Ingram later confessed to having bass on board, caught both with rod and line and from a fixed net.
Upon inspection, officers discovered live bass in a cool box, indicating recent capture, and noted the net’s proximity to anchors typically used to secure it on the seabed. Ingram admitted lying to officers about the catch and confessed to retaining bass from a fixed net, a practice prohibited in recreational fishing.
Ingram, appearing at the Truro Magistrates Court without legal representation, pleaded guilty to both charges. He claimed he used the net to fish for red mullet but, having caught none, retained the bass. The court ordered him to pay a total of £2,168 in fines and costs.
Simon Cadman, Cornwall IFCA’s Principal Enforcement Officer, emphasized the importance of compliance with conservation laws, especially for species like bass crucial to both recreational and commercial fishermen. Bass are subject to European-wide conservation measures aimed at replenishing fish stocks.
Cadman stated, “With bass being a species of great importance to so many recreational and commercial fishermen, it is crucial for fishermen to abide by legislation which aims to ensure an improving and healthy stock for the future. It was particularly disappointing to find the rules broken to such a level, on this occasion. Where there is clear evidence of a breach of important fisheries conservation legislation which is enforceable by Cornwall IFCA, strong enforcement action can be expected, as in this case.”
The successful prosecution sends a clear message about the enforcement of fisheries conservation laws and the commitment to maintaining sustainable fish stocks for the future.