29 June 2015

On Saturday 20th June Shoreham Port, local fishermen, lifeboat crew and the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) were all involved in the reporting and safe removal of an illegal fishing net strung across the River Adur Estuary.

The net was spotted by a local fisherman early in the morning. The Skipper of the IFCA patrol boat located the net that had been fastened to the north river wall piling opposite Soldiers Point, and strung across the river.

The illegally placed net had caught a number of flat fish and mullet and was causing a dangerous obstacle to safe navigation. Live fish in the net were returned to the estuary and the obstruction was removed.

Illegal nets placed across tidal rivers cause environmental damage by catching migrating Sea Trout in Sussex Rivers as well as other marine fish species. The IFCA has a fixed engine byelaw which prohibits such netting. If you saw anything suspicious related to this incident that you wish to report, or you recognise the net pictured then please contact the Sussex IFCA using the details below.

Sean Ashworth at the Sussex IFCA commented “We fully support legal sustainable fishing but this is an example of irresponsible and dangerous practice.”

Julian Seaman, Harbour Master at Shoreham Port added “Navigational safety is always our priority. An incident like this is rare, but if left unreported could have had very serious consequences for our stakeholders transiting the river. The net could have caused a vessel to become entangled, disabling the vessel in the strong tidal waters of the River Adur and endangering the lives of the occupants.”

The Sussex IFCA is responsible for the management of marine fisheries and conservation in an area of over 500 square miles of Sussex coastal waters. Please contact the Sussex IFCA on 01273 454407 if you have anything to report on this incident.

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