The deaths of more than 100 sea birds has triggered the first use of a by-law temporarily preventing fisherman from netting fish in a Cornish bay.
Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (CIFCA) said the area around St Ives Bay would be closed between 5-26 January.
CIFCA said the regulation was triggered after more than 100 sea birds died after becoming caught in the nets.
Anyone found netting in the exclusion zone could be fined up to £50,000.
Chief officer for CIFCA Edwin Derriman said: “It’s such an odd occurrence and quite emotive when it happens.”
It is thought the situation arose when bad weather meant fisherman could not go out to fish and sea birds and fish were forced into the bay.
“I think they’ve [fisherman] been caught unawares, usually they’re able to fish in the dark when birds aren’t flying, but I think they misjudged it, so they put the nets in the water, but by the time their boats floated again they’d been two hours of daylight again,” Edwin Derriman said.
“It’s a lesson to them and I’m confident we won’t see the by-law used again.”
The suspension enforced by the St Ives Bay Gill Net Fishery Byelaw is thought to be the only one of its kind in the country.
CIFCA said the temporary closure affected the area in St Ives Bay, “on the landward side of a line drawn between St Ives Head and the northern extremity of the Black Cliffs (east of Hayle estuary)”.