Two Somerset men given seven year fishing ban
TWO Somerset men have been banned from elver fishing for a total of seven years after being caught using illegal nets on the River Parrett.
Environment Agency bailiffs saw Kevin Simmons and Keith Clapp fishing for elvers at two separate locations on April 4, 2013.
Simmons was on the riverbank approximately a mile and a half downstream and Burrow Bridge and Clapp was at Moorland.
Licensed elver fishermen are restricted in the size of the dip nets they use.
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Each net can only be operated by hand and must not be left unattended.
The rules are designed to protect elver numbers and ensure stocks are not over-exploited.
Bailiffs noticed the defendants were using dip nets fitted with handles that were too long and that the nets had been left unattended.
Both men were fined £300 and ordered to pay £400 costs by Bridgwater magistrates after pleading guilty to offences under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
Keith Clapp, of Hamp Street, Bridgwater also received a four year ban.
Kevin Simmons, of Morris Way, North Curry was given a three year ban.
The court ordered their elver fishing equipment be forfeited and destroyed.
Richard Dearnley for the Environment Agency said: "Illegal fishing damages eel stocks, harms the environment and is unfair to law-abiding fishermen. We won’t hesitate to prosecute offenders."