Fishing Vessel Owner and Skipper Fined

On 16 November 2016 Mr Mark Durrans and Mr Matthew Cunliffe appeared at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court in a case brought by Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Eastern IFCA).

Mr Durrans, the owner of the fishing vessel Celtic Mor of Newquay (PW31) and Mr Cunliffe, the Skipper, both pleaded guilty to seven offences and were ordered to pay financial penalties totalling £10,075 including a contribution towards the costs of prosecution.

Mr Durrans was fined £5,000 and was ordered to pay legal costs in full of £2,235.10 and a victim surcharge of £170. Mr Cunliffe was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170. The court also ordered the forfeiture of 52 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 as well as using whelk pots which did not have the required escape holes and were not marked with the requisite identification tags.  In addition, the court heard how the accused had been using edible crab (Cancer pagurus) as bait, contrary to an Eastern IFCA byelaw.

The court also heard that Eastern IFCA and the Marine Management Organisation had engaged with the owner and the skipper of the vessel on several occasions and that the offences had continued over a long period.

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 a blatant disregard for byelaws intended to safeguard fish stocks and such behaviour is unacceptable, particularly to the majority of the fishing industry who fish responsibly.’

More information on whelk management measures can be found here.

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