Brightlingsea skipper found guilty on two counts of fishing with an over powered vessel.
Mr. Terry Stimpson appeared in front of Basildon Magistrates Court on Wendesday 22nd April charged with two counts of breaching a Kent and Essex IFCA byelaw on engine power.
The byelaw was introduced to protect sensitive inshore marine habitats and fish stocks from the impact of heavy fishing gear used by more powerful boats.
On 19th August 2013 fisheries officers boarded the fishing vessel “Seaglory II” whilst it was towing a trawl inside the district.
On the 1st September 2014 the same vessel was observed towing something inside the district, but as officers from the Fisheries Patrol Vessel “Tamesis” approached the “Seaglory II” the skipper released what he was towing into the water.
Mr. Stimpson accepted in court that his vessel engine power of 245kW was in excess of that permitted in the byelaw (221 kW) but claimed that on the first occasion the trawl was not fishing, and that on the second occasion he was towing a chain in order to encourage fish to swim in to his drift nets.
The magistrates found that he was fishing on the first occasion, and on the second occasion that a chain could still be classed as a towed fishing instrument, and therefore in breach of the byelaw.
Mr. Stimpson was found guilty on both counts and fined £500 per offence and ordered to pay £750 in costs.