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, 07:24
The coastguard pole today.

National Trust launches appeal to restore a unique part of North Devon’s coastal heritage.

Read more
Fri, 14:34
On the campaign trail in North Devon.

Catch up with the latest General Election goings on and ministerial visits in pictures

Read more
Fri, 14:26
Home secretary Theresa May with Conservative candidate for North Devon Peter Heaton-Jones

The Government minister answered questions covering everything from North Devon’s tourism industry to her favourite flavour of crisps

Read more
Fri, 14:16

Councillors have approved contentious plans for 105 houses in Pilton.

Read more
Fri, 12:51
Princess Anne visits the Lynton Cliff Railway on Friday morning. Picture: @LLCliffRailway

Princess visit kicks off 125th anniversary celebrations in style.

Read more
Fri, 09:24
Labour Party leader Ed Miiband and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon during the BBC Challengers' Election Debate 2015. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Cameron has warned of more borrowing and taxes if Ed Miliband does a deal with the Scottish National Party (SNP) to become Prime Minister.

Read more
Fri, 08:46
beer

Beer festival will see music, barbecue and beer follow rugby matchers in Barnstaple on Saturday.

Read more
Fri, 08:43
James Pugsley with his late brother, Tom

The 21-year-old will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for the RNLI in memory of his late brother Tom Pugsley.

Read more
Fri, 07:00
Lyndsay Platt, with The Glorious Oyster horsebox on Westward Ho! Picture: Sarah Howells

As part of our campaign to promote North Devon’s fish and seafood, we spoke to The Glorious Oyster in Westward Ho!

Read more
Thu, 17:17
Catch Ed Byrne in Barnstaple this autumn. Picture: Roslyn Gaunt

Catch the famous funnyman on stage at The Queen’s Theatre this autumn...

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

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
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition



North Devon's trusted business finder