On 12 September 2016 Thomas Copp and Gary Copp entered guilty pleas for breaching fisheries regulations at Weymouth Magistrates Court.
The court heard how in January 2016 whilst operating the under 10 metre fishing vessel “Charisma NN111” Thomas Copp (vessel owner) and Gary Copp (vessel master) exceeded the under 10 metre monthly catch limit in Area VIIe for sole, and failed to accurately record the area of capture for sole in the vessel’s logbook . The monthly limit for sole in area VIIe was 30kg, however the vessel landed some 287.86kgs of sole in excess of the catch limit. Initially logbook records submitted by the vessel master showed this overfish was caught in ICES Area VIId, which had a larger monthly limit, however investigation by officers from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) established that the fish was actually caught and retained in Area VIIe, with the master completing his records to show an inaccurate area of capture.
The court sentenced Thomas Copp to fines totalling £2445 and costs of £2541.50, with a victim surcharge of £120. Gary Copp was then sentenced on the same basis leading to total fine and costs of £10,213.
A spokesman for the MMO said: “In this case the defendants submitted an incorrect logbook report and exceeded their monthly catch limits. Such actions damage the viability of fish stocks for future generations and the law abiding fishing industry. The MMO will not hesitate to take the appropriate action when illegal activity is detected up to and including, as in this case, a prosecution leading to substantial fines.”