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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Carnage of discarded fishing net
Birdlife including cormorants and shags were trapped in the nets
A diver has called for new laws to protect sea life after the discovery of birds and fish trapped in a discarded fishing net off Cornwall.

Dave Peake discovered the gill net while snorkelling 50m (164ft) off Polhawn Cove at Whitsand Bay.

The many creatures including fish and birds it has trapped are thought to have suffered a slow death.

Fisheries leaders have asked for the net to be removed and say the incident was a "one-off."

Mr Peake, who took the pictures, said: "It was pretty horrific.

"There were rotting crabs, fish, cormorants and shags.

"I was a police diver so I have seen some bad sites but this really took me back."

A dogfish and spider crab are caught in the net

Mr Peake, from Plymouth, was only able to release a few mackerel.

"If that was a local park there would be a furore.

"It should be compulsory for fishermen to collect their nets, but maybe it was put down illegally.

"I think it must have been down there for at least two months and I wonder how many others there are around the coast."

The Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee has asked fishermen to remove the net.

Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said he did not believe that legislation was needed.

"He said: "It looks like these are gill nets that have been lost by a fishing vessel.

"This is very much a one-off and it is particularly sad to see the dead fish and the net continuing to fish."

Giant shark saved from net trap
22 Jul 05 |  Cornwall
Fishing net 'danger to sea birds'
21 Oct 04 |  Southern Counties
Warning over dolphin 'extinction'
16 Jul 02 |  Scotland

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