A Cornish man was ordered to pay £150 in fines and costs for not returning two undersize bass to the river Fowey at Lostwithiel. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

On April 30, 2003 an agency officer was on enforcement patrol on the River Fowey at Shire Hall Moor when he saw a man fishing on the tidal section of the river. The man was later questioned by the Agency officer about the contents of a bag he had with him.

After closer inspection the man was found to have two dead bass which appeared to be smaller than the legal length which can be kept. On measuring this was found to be correct.

On Monday (September 15) East Cornwall Magistrates found James Lewsey of Larcombe Road, Bethel, Lostwithiel guilty of breaching section 11 of the Sea Fisheries Regulations Act 1966, not returning two bass which measured less than 37.5cm in length. He was fined £50 and ordered to pay £100 costs.

Andrew Williams for the Environment Agency commented “This new byelaw has been brought in recently to protect immature bass and it has been widely publicised”.

“The Environment Agency is working hard to conserve sea bass stocks in Cornwall and fisherman must assist us with our work and the regulations by returning smaller fish”.

The new byelaw created on 6th November 2002 states that it is an offence to retain any sea bass under 37.5cm caught from Cornish fisheries.

A leaflet is available from the Environment Agency with a waterproof paper cut-out of a bass measuring exactly the legal minimum size of 37.5cm. Copies of the leaflet can be obtained by calling the Environment Agency’s general inquiry line on 0845 933 3111 during office hours.