The court heard that on 4 September 2012 the Ayr-registered fishing vessel Isla S (DS1) landed a catch of 65 tonnes of scallops into Shoreham, which was inspected by marine officers from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The MMO officers found that around 13 per cent of the catch – 8.8 tonnes worth an estimated £12,600 – were under the prescribed 110 mm size for ICES Area VIId.
The case had originally been heard in Brighton Magistrates' Court, where both owners and master had pleaded guilty to the offences. However, the magistrates committed the case to the Crown Court for sentencing, where fines for such offending have no ceiling.
On hearing the evidence Judge Anthony fined the owners, Saltire Seafoods of Dalbeattie, Scotland, £25,000 and ordered them to pay full investigation costs of £1,575.00 and legal costs of £2,605.20 – a total of £29,180 plus victim surcharge. In addition the master, Paul Wayne Longden, of Stranraer, Scotland, was ordered to pay a fine of £500.00 and a victim surcharge.
The Marine Management Organisation recognises that the vast majority of the fishing industry is compliant with the rules that govern its commercial activities.
We aim to encourage compliance with fisheries legislation through education, advice and guidance to the industry wherever possible. Where necessary we 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.