A French vessel whose skipper is accused of fishing Cornish waters with illegally altered nets has been allowed to return to sea until he appears in court later this month.

L’Alphaver GV, which fishes out of Guilvenec, was inspected at sea on Monday, June 30 by Royal Navy fisheries protection vessel HMS Severn while it was fishing in what is referred to as the Celtic Sea, north west of Cornwall, before being brought into Newlyn harbour.

A Marine Management Organisation spokesperson said: "We believe our inspection revealed that the nets that had been used did not comply with requirements, in that there were attachments to the nets that restricted the meshes of the cod end.

"We also believe the master had not maintained a stowage plan, which is required in order to show where sensitive species were stowed in the fish hold."

Following the inspection, the vessel was detained to Newlyn for further investigation, and master Fabrice Pellae of Plozevet, France and owner Clement Cochou of Plonéour-Lanvern, France, have been charged with three offences under article 3(1) of the Sea Fishing (Enforcement of Community Conservation Measures) Order 2000 (SI 2000/1081) as read with article 16 of Council Regulation (EC) 850/1998 and article 6 of Commission Regulation (EEC) 3440/84

Cochou appeared before magistrates at Truro on July 3, before the case was adjourned until July 30.

The MMO spokesperson added: "We have arranged a bond which has allowed the vessel to return to sea in the meantime."