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Fisheries And Rod Licensing - Kayaker Caught Poaching On Devon River


Beverley Nicholls concealed bass and trout in his kayak after netting them during an illegal fishing spree on the River Taw in north Devon


Published on 13 April 2014



by Environment Agency

(WireNews)

London, England

Parliament Street (SW1)
Parliament Street (SW1)

A court heard how a Barnstaple man caught more than 20 fish during an illegal fishing spree on the River Taw in North Devon. Beverley Nicholls concealed bass and trout in his kayak after netting them early one evening last summer.

The paddling poacher was caught after a member of the public saw him using a net at Runsam Bridge and reported the sighting to the Environment Agency. Two fishery officers were quickly at the scene and saw the defendant fishing from his canoe. When they called to him to ask if he’d caught anything, Nicholls replied ‘only a couple of bass.’

One of the officers suggested he returned the fish to the water unharmed as he was in a bass nursery area. He asked Nicholls to haul in his net so he could check and make sure it was legal. It contained four mullet and a bass.

The officer told the defendant he was going to search his boat and asked him to get out. Nicholls tried to paddle away. The officer then waded into the river and grabbed the cock-pit of the canoe to stop him escaping. At one point Nicholls tried to push the officer away with his paddle. He was warned he was at risk of being reported for obstruction.

The canoe was brought ashore and the defendant asked to empty the boat of fish. When one of the fisheries officers checked inside the canoe he found a large bass that Nicholls had tried to hide. He was allowed to keep the mullet as netting this species within a bass nursery area is permitted.

A court heard how a Barnstaple man caught more than 20 fish during an illegal fishing spree on the River Taw in North Devon. Beverley Nicholls concealed bass and trout in his kayak after netting them early one evening last summer.

The total number of fish recovered included three bass, five rainbow trout, a brown trout, a sea trout and 12 mullet. The sea trout (3lb) alone was worth approximately £30. Nicholls, who lives on a houseboat in Barnstaple, said he knew there was a bass nursery area on the River Torridge, but didn’t realise it extended to the Taw estuary.

It is illegal to fish for bass from a boat within the tidal limits of the Taw estuary from the site of the old power station at Yelland to a point upstream at New Bridge between May 1 – October 31. A net limitation order is in place on the Taw and Torridge estuary to protect salmon and sea trout on their migration from the sea to their spawning grounds.

Paul Carter for the Environment Agency said:

"Bass nurseries help safeguard stocks so it is important fishing from boats is restricted in these areas. The defendant has an excellent knowledge of the Taw and Torridge and is aware of local restrictions. On this occasion he chose to break the law and was caught."

Appearing before Barnstaple magistrates, Beverley Nicholls, was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs after pleading guilty to illegally fishing for bass and sea trout at Runsam Bridge on the River Taw on June 4, 2013. His net was confiscated.

The case was the first joint prosecution ever taken in the south west by the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (IFCA) and the Environment Agency. It was heard on Tuesday (April 8).

Members of the public can report illegal fishing and other environmental crimes by calling the Environment Agency’s free 24-hour hotline 0800 80 70 60.

ENDS


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Posted 2014-04-13 09:52:00