On 7 July 2017 JJR Fishing Limited, owner of the fishing vessel Golden Sceptre PD50 and its master, James West, pleaded guilty to 2 breaches of the Fisheries Act 1981 at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard that in January 2017 the vessel was boarded by officers from the Royal Navy fisheries protection vessel HMS Severn which was carrying out fisheries enforcement duties in the area. During the inspection it was identified that the vessel was not transmitting on its Automatic Identification System (AIS), contrary to Section 30(1) of the Fisheries Act 1981 as read with article 10 of Council regulation (EC) No. 1224/2009. When questioned about this by the officers Mr West, who is also a director of JJR Fishing Limited, replied that he had turned the system off in order that other vessels would not be able to see where he was fishing.
The court also heard that Mr West had failed to comply with the obligation to submit a fishing vessel logbook, in that he had not submitted any fishing activity reports for two days’ worth of fishing activity.
The vessel owner, JJR Fishing Limited was ordered to pay a fine of £15,750 together with an additional fine based on the value of the catch of £2,250, with a victim surcharge of £120 and court costs of £1,500.
The vessel master James West was fined £5,250 together with an additional fine based on the value of the catch of £1,250, with a victim surcharge of £120 and court costs of £437.
A spokesman for the MMO said:
“The court in this case considered these offences to be serious in nature and imposed significant penalties, which recognises the scale of offending that took place in failing to submit logbook information and failing to transmit AIS. Failing to comply with regulations which apply to commercial sea fishing carries with it the risk of fines of this magnitude.”
“In these cases the MMO will always take the appropriate action including prosecution to ensure offenders do not profit from such illegal activity and to protect fish stocks for the wider fishing industry and future generations.”