Saturday, 22 September 2012

Holsworthy fishery fined for keeping illegal fish species

The owners of a Holsworthy fishery have been ordered to pay nearly £35,000 in fines and costs for keeping two invasive species of fish in lakes.

The case, taken by the Environment Agency, is the first of its kind in the region.

Checks at Clawford Fishery, a commercial fishery owned by John and Wanda Ray, revealed the presence of two potentially invasive species, topmouth gudgeon and wels catfish, in several of the 16 lakes at the site.

The fish removal and clean up operation at Clawford cost around £170,000 and lasted several months.

Appearing before North Devon Magistrates' Court the defendants were fined a total of £4,950 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs after pleading guilty to five offences under the Import of Live Fish (England and Wales) Act 1980.

The Environment Agency said it will continue to monitor the site, but early indications are that the operation has been successful.

Matt Brazier, from the Agency, said "Invasive non-native fish pose serious risks to our native species and habitats and are incredibly costly to the angling industry and the vital recreation and employment opportunities it provides.

"The Environment Agency is working hard with fishery owners and the fishing industry to prevent their spread and where high risk invasive fish are stocked illegally we will take appropriate action to ensure they are contained and removed."

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