A WARNING has gone out after an illegal fishing net – which could have endangered fishermen using Shoreham Port – was discovered.
Fishermen spotted the net and it needed the collective efforts of lifeboat teams and the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) to remove the item, which was strung across the River Adur Estuary.
The net had been fastened to the north river wall piling opposite Soldiers Point and was strung across the river and had caught a number of flat fish and mullet and was causing a dangerous obstacle to safe navigation.
Julian Seaman, Harbour Master at Shoreham Port said: “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.”
Live fish in the net were returned to the estuary and the obstruction was removed on June 20.
Illegal nets placed across tidal rivers cause environmental damage by catching migrating sea trout in Sussex rivers as well as other marine fish species.
Sean Ashworth at the Sussex IFCA said: “We fully support legal sustainable fishing but this is an example of irresponsible and dangerous practice.”
IFCA is now urging anyone who saw anything suspicious – or if they see other nets being illegally placed in the harbour – to report it by calling them on 01273 454407.