Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Fishery fined for keeping invasive fish species

08:00 30 September 2012

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

The owners of Clawford Fisheries in Holsworthy ordered to pay out nearly £35k after discovery of illegal fish.

THE OWNERS of a fishery in North Devon have been ordered to pay nearly £35,000 by magistrates for keeping invasive species of fish.

John Ray, 68, and his wife Wanda Ray, 63, of Clawford Fisheries in Holsworthy, were taken to court by the Environment Agency in the first case of its kind in the region.

Mr and Mrs Ray faced charges of keeping prohibited species top mouth gudgeon and wels catfish, and a further charge was made against Mr Ray of keeping grass carp.

The couple had previously obtained a licence for the catfish and carp, which had expired in 2007 and was never renewed.

Keiron Martyn, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, said the top mouth gudgeon, which originally hails from Asia, was in the highest risk category of invasive species and is banned in all UK waters.

Although only three-to-four inches long, the top mouth gudgeon is not permitted in any water due to its high risk to native wildlife.

The wels catfish and grass carp are both allowed in isolated waters with a licence.

The Agency decided to investigate the premises after Mr Ray had posted on the fishery’s website that they housed the banned species rosy minnow to ‘see what the agency would do about it’.

Tom Bradnock, defending, claimed it was an ‘act of mischief’ on the defendant’s part which had resulted in dire consequences for the couple, who have spent 25 years building up the business.

A five day investigation by the Agency in January led to the discovery not of rosy minnow, but of the three prohibited species.

As a result a £170,000 clean up operation which involved draining and sterilising the 16 lakes in the 78 acre estate took place.

Mr and Mrs Ray were ordered by North Devon Magistrates’ Court to pay £4,950 in fines and £30,000 in costs after pleading guilty to the five offences.

Mr Bradnock said the couple had not deliberately introduced the fish and they suspected the Top Mouth Gudgeon had been introduced by contaminated netting.

He said the couple had already agreed to contribute £50,000 towards the cost of the operation and had put the property up for sale.

Matt Brazier, of the Environment 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.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 17:41
Residents have been clearing up flood debris and mud at Corner Lane in Combe Martin

Residents are busy with clean-up operations this afternoon (Saturday) following the earlier downpours.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:19
The A39 near the Hoops Inn in Woolsery. Picture: Donna Paterson.

North Devon is currently under an amber weather warning as heavy rainfall lashes the region. Latest road, flooding and bus service disruptions here.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:31
Pilton residents protesting against plans for yet more homes in the area. Picture: Sarah Howells

Residents have had enough as new proposals for 44 homes add to more than 600 new houses approved by North Devon Council for the area.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00
Sophie Welch has become an NCS Leader.

Sophie Welch, 17, chosen from thousands to become an NCS Leader

Read more
Yesterday, 07:59
Park School headteacher Gareth Roscoe

Gareth Roscoe reflects on his first 100 days in the job – and a few changes

Read more
Fri, 17:57
Don't miss the music, entertainment and antics of the LeperFest at Taddiport in Torrington on Saturday, February 1.

Don’t miss the big parade of lepers plus live music at taddiport this Saturday (February 6) from 8.30pm

Read more
Fri, 14:00
KT Tunstall will headline GoldCoast Oceanfest on Sunday, June 19

Big names announced for this year’s GoldCoast Oceanfest at Croyde from June 17-19.

Read more
Fri, 13:05
Memories of Barnstaple fair. Picture: Barnstaple Fair Heritage Society

Barnstaple Fair Heritage Society have received a welcome boost after receiving lottery funding for an exciting project.

Read more
Fri, 10:31
Geoffrey Cox and Peter Heaton-Jones

Peter Heaton-Jones and Geoffrey Cox are divided on whether or not the UK should leave the EU.

Read more
Fri, 09:10
Plans for new homes have been submitted to the council.

Plans for a new housing development in Braunton will be on show next week.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications