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Master, Owner Fined for a Range of Fisheries Offences

01 August 2012, at 1:00am

UK - On Friday 27 July the master and owner of the Ocean Reaper (FR273) were sentenced by North Tyneside Magistrates Court for failing to meet catch composition requirements, fishing with a prohibited net, contravening a fishing licence condition by carrying two mesh size ranges, five sets of illegal attachments (top side chafers) and failure to meet twine thickness on a net.

The master, Ian Duthie, and the owner, Reaper Fishing LLP, pleaded guilty to all counts except for the five sets of illegal attachments.

The vessel had been boarded by HMS Severn in October 2010 and was found to be using two mesh size ranges for which it was not licensed. Further inspections of both sets of nets found a number of unauthorised attachments that were not fitted in accordance with the legal requirement. One of the nets failed a twine thickness check and another was found to be in a prohibited mesh size range.

A further catch inspection and investigation shore side found that the vessel had not been adhering to catch composition requirements by not meeting the minimum catch requirements for the area in which the vessel was active.

The master and owner were found guilty on all counts. The master was fined 41,000 and ordered to pay investigation costs of 1,253.25 and the owner was fined a further 13,000.

The Marine Management Organisation recognises that the vast majority of the fishing industry is compliant with the rules that govern its commercial activities.

MMO aims to encourage compliance with fisheries legislation through education, advice and guidance to the industry wherever possible. Where necessary MMO may take enforcement action which could result in a court appearance, potential fines for masters and owners, and forfeiture of equipment imposed by the court.

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