Gloucestershire salmon fisherman facing return to court

A Gloucestershire fisherman who was prosecuted after giving an "illegally" caught salmon to the Environment Agency may have to return to court.

Nigel Mott, from Lydney, was told by the agency he could only catch 30 wild salmon a season in the Severn Estuary.

After catching his 31st fish, he was taken to court but won his case.

An agency spokesman said: "Although the judge has at this stage ruled in Mr Mott's favour, we will be seeking leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal."

Using a putcher rank, an array of 650 basket-like traps, Mr Mott has fished in the estuary at Lydney since the 1970s.

'Seized my fish'

But three years ago, the Environment Agency imposed new regulations which reduced his wild salmon catch to a maximum of 30.

"When I caught the 30th fish, I rang them up and told them I was going to fish in excess of the 30 - I even brought them my 31st fish," he said.

"They seized my fish and warned me of a prosecution - which is exactly what I wanted because I was very anxious to get my evidence before a court."

Arguing the restrictions would force him out of business, Mr Mott eventually won his case and was given permission by the judge to seek damages.

"I'm hoping to get back the difference between what I made catching 30 salmon and what I would have made if I'd been allowed to fish properly," he said.

But an agency spokesman said the Severn Estuary, River Wye and River Usk were "designated conservation sites".

"All of these sites are designated to protect salmon, and these populations are currently under threat," he said.

"We impose restrictions on salmon fishing for all fisheries in these areas because of the need to protect the designated habitats and fisheries."

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