This Is South Devon –
The skipper of stricken Teignmouth trawler Girl Rona must pay more than £7,000 after being caught dredging in a protected reef.
Peter James Boyne, 61, was ‘careless in the extreme’ when he allowed his boat to stray into the protected area in Lyme Bay, magistrates said.
He claimed he was making repairs in the engine room when officials flew overhead and saw the boat dredging illegally for shellfish.
But magistrates in Torquay fined him and his company, jointly owned by his wife Joyce, £2,000 each and ordered he pay £3,000 costs after he pleaded guilty to dredging in the Lyme Bay Designated Fishing Area.
Boyne is the first person to be prosecuted for fishing in the area off the coast of East Devon since it was given protected status in 2009.
The incident happened on May 7 last year. Prosecutor Jacob Rickett for the Marine Management Organisation said the Lyme Bay zone had long been recognised for its wide variety of species including the pink sea fan and Weymouth carpet corals.
“It was created to protect an internationally important habitat from damage,” he said.