A POOLE fisherman has been ordered to pay £1,040 in fines after throwing his catch overboard and stopping fisheries officers from inspecting his boat.

John Baldwin admitted two charges of obstruction in Poole Harbour, in contravention of Section 292(4) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, during a hearing at Bournemouth Magistrates Court.

Prosecutors from the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) said the 34-year-old, of Hamilton Close in Hamworthy, discarded his catch of shellfish when asked to stop on December 27 last year.

He then prevented a fisheries and conservation officer from carrying out an onboard inspection, the court heard.

Magistrates were told that on January 9 Baldwin intentionally obstructed another fisheries and conservation officer in the performance of his duty, in that he failed to stop to allow his vessel to be boarded and inspected again.

After the hearing Neil Richardson, deputy chief officer for the Southern IFCA, said: “Mr Baldwin pleaded guilty and apologised.

“He stated that he would be more compliant and work with IFCA Officers when inspected in the future.

“These regulations are important as they allow fisheries and conservation officers to ensure the correct sizes of fish and shellfish are taken.

“The rules support the important fishing industry in the local area.

“Southern IFCA is committed to protecting the fishery to ensure healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable industry.”

Mr Richardson said there are health and safety issues with the removal of shellfish and they therefore work closely with the borough of Poole Environmental Health Officers to ensure that fish that is being sold for human consumption is being sourced legally.