Fishing Vessel Owner and Skipper Fined

On 19th November 2019 M R Durrans Fishing Ltd and Mr Benjamin Vass appeared at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court in a case brought by Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Eastern IFCA).

M R Durrans Fishing Ltd was represented by Mr Mark Durrans, the owner of the fishing vessel Hannah Beth II (DH23).  Both Mr Durrans and Mr Vass, the Skipper of the vessel, pleaded guilty to the offence and were ordered to pay financial penalties totalling £30,476.46 including full legal and enforcement costs for prosecution.

M R Durrans Fishing Ltd was fined £24,000 and was ordered to pay legal/enforcement costs of £3,036.46 and a victim surcharge of £120. Mr Vass was fined £2,000 and was ordered to pay the remaining legal/enforcement costs £1,000 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120. The court ordered an additional penalty of £3,500 to the value of the 64 whelk pots which had been seized by Eastern IFCA during the investigation.

The court heard how the vessel had been used to undertake whelk fishing within Eastern IFCA’s district without a whelk permit. In passing sentence, the court said that the owner and skipper had been ‘reckless’ in the way they had gone about their business and in coming to this decision the court had taken account of the fact that they had previously been issued a Financial Administrative Penalty.

Following the hearing the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern IFCA, Julian Gregory, said ‘long-term, sustainable fisheries are a benefit to everyone.  In this case, there was a clear disregard for an Eastern IFCA byelaw which safeguards Whelk stocks.  This behaviour is unacceptable, particularly to our fishery stakeholders, the majority of whom fish responsibly.’


Notes for Editors

Eastern IFCA manage fishing activity six nautical miles out to sea from the coastline from Hail Sand Fort in Lincolnshire to Harwich in Suffolk.  Our remit includes ensuring long-term, sustainable fisheries which do not negatively impact marine protected areas through implementing and enforcing fisheries legislation.

Eastern IFCA recognises the important measures to protect whelk stocks inside their district. In addition, whelk biology makes them very vulnerable to over-fishing, primarily due to their slow growth rates and low mobility.

Understanding the importance of the whelk stocks Eastern IFCA introduced an Emergency byelaw for the protection of whelk fisheries in April of 2015.  This byelaw was in response to evidence indicating that whelk stocks within Eastern IFCA’s district were at high risk of collapse due to high fishing effort. The Emergency Byelaw has since been replaced with permanent measures, a reflection of the importance of whelk stocks to inshore fishers and the importance placed on their appropriate management.

More information on Eastern IFCA measures to protect whelks, including the Whelk Permit Byelaw 2016 and how to apply for a permit, can be found on the Eastern IFCA


Contact: Julian Gregory (CEO Eastern IFCA) – 01553 775321 / 07771 594987

Address: Unit 6 North Lynn Business Village, Bergen Way, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 2JG

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