Fisherman fined over ‘health risk’ dredging

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ILLEGAL dredging for clams has landed a fisherman with a fine.

Kevin Smith, 49, of Winterbourne Road, Paulsgrove, pleaded guilty to a charge of fishing in Chichester Harbour by a method other than those prescribed by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA).

As a result of information received and at the request of the IFCA, officers of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy found the fishing vessel Phantom P300 illegally clam dredging in the Thorney Channel in July 2012.

Chichester Harbour is a European Marine Site and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The only shellfish classified that can be harvested from certain areas within the harbour are oysters.

Clam dredging in the intertidal areas could have a significant impact on the marine environment and habitat of birds and breeding cycles.

The conservancy said in a statement that dredging of shellfish from unclassified areas that could enter the food chain for human consumption could pose a severe health risk.

Smith appeared at Worthing Magistrates Court on January 7. He was fined £1,500 with £1,900 costs.