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Dolphin gives new eco boat the fins up
A DOLPHIN became an unlikely companion for a conservation authority’s first boat trip from West Bay.
Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority launched the new Protector patrol boat off West Bay for its first trip towards ensuring sustainable fishing.
The Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is responsible for the management of inshore fisheries in the coastal waters off Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.
During the patrol boat’s trip, Sam Dell and Steve Axtell of the IFCA were joined by a dolphin which began to swim alongside them.
A spokesperson for the IFCA said: “Dolphins are relatively frequent visitors to the area but it is fantastic of course to have the opportunity on the Protector’s first journey to be joined by them.”
The Rev Philip Ringer, chairman of Churches Together in Bridport, said: “I was present at the boat’s launch and said prayers for the crew to travel safely on their first journey.
“You can speculate a number of things from the dolphin’s visit to the boat, but perhaps it was there to keep an eye on them or maybe it was simply being inquisitive.”
The new boat will be used to protect the coastal seas in the region which support one of the largest coastal fishing fleets in England as well as providing many important recreational benefits to the thousands of anglers.
The patrol boat can be manned by up to four members of the crew and will undertake inspection duties throughout the region.
It was manufactured by Ribcraft of Yeovil in Somerset and has a top speed in excess of 40 knots.
Ian Davies, chairman of Southern IFCA said: “The FPV Protector will increase our operational capability to undertake patrols necessary to monitor and manage fishing activity, to ensure compliance with environmental and fishery regulations and to support the local fishery.
“Our staff have been closely involved throughout the design and building process, and are delighted that the protector has been commissioned and is ready to be deployed.”