Net closes around illegal fishing operation

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Two massive illegal gill nets have been seized by Environment Agency fisheries officers off Looe in Cornwall. The patrol vessel Mor Teg swung into action after the Agency received a tip-off from a member of the public.

Totalling more than half a mile in length (850 metres), the nets contained more than 200 fish including 67 bass and 74 wrasse. They had been set off East Looe Beach and between Hannafore and Looe Island. The Agency has launched an investigation in a bid to identify the people responsible.

‘This was a successful enforcement operation made possible by a timely and accurate report from a member of the public. Fixed surface nets are prohibited in certain areas around our coastline not only to protect sea fish, but migrating salmon and sea trout as they return to our rivers to spawn. We are always grateful to members of the public who help us combat illegal fishing,’ said Rob Hocking for the Environment Agency

The nets were seized under a Cornwall Inshore and Fisheries and Conservation Authority (CIFCA) byelaw which prohibits the use of fixed surface nets in nine areas of the Cornish coastline. Environment Agency Fisheries Officers have the powers to act on behalf of the CIFCA.