Fishing Vessel Owner and Skipper Fined

Fishing Vessel Owner and Skipper Fined

On 30th May 2018 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).

MR 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 two offences and were ordered to pay financial penalties totalling £15,284.60 including full legal and enforcement costs for prosecution.

Mr Durrans was fined £8,500 and was ordered to pay legal/enforcement costs of £4,000 and a victim surcharge of £170. Mr Vass was fined £1,200 and was ordered to pay the remaining legal/enforcement costs £1,294.60 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.

The court heard how the vessel had been used to undertake whelk fishing outside Eastern IFCA’s district and landed at the port of Lowestoft, Suffolk. The vessel had landed, on two occasions, whelks that were below the minimum conservation reference size of 45mm.  In addition, the court heard that the owner and skipper had previously received a fixed administrative penalty for a similar offence.

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 fixed administrative penalty. The court awarded legal and enforcement costs to be paid in full.

Following the hearing the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern IFCA, Julian Gregory, said ‘The maintenance of sustainable fisheries is important to us all. In this case there was clear disregard for EU law intended to safeguard fish stocks and such behaviour is unacceptable, particularly to the majority of the fishing industry who fish responsibly.’


Notes for Editors

Eastern IFCA manage fishing activity six nautical miles out to sea from the coast line 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 importance of the EU measures to the protection of whelk stocks inside and outside 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


design sprint agency