On 20 March 2015 at North Shields Magistrates Court, the master and owner of a Scottish scallop dredger the King Explorer were each convicted following guilty pleas after being charged by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) with breaching scallop legislation.
The court heard how on 14 July 2014 the King Explorer was approached by Royal Navy Fishery Protection Officers from HMS Tyne. The vessel, which was fishing for King Scallops, was positioned 3.6 nautical miles within the 12 mile limit. Upon inspection it was found to be using 12 dredges per side. This is in contravention of Article 4 of The Scallop Fishing (England) Order 2012 No 2283 which limits the number of dredges that can be used to fish for King Scallops inside the 12 mile limit, to 8 dredges per side. The value of the scallops caught by the vessel was found to be £11,293.00.
Neither the Company nor the Master had any previous fisheries offences recorded against them.
Having heard the facts and the defendants’ mitigation the court fined the master John William King, £3,000.00 and ordered a payment of a victim surcharge of £120.00 and £375.00 towards the costs of the prosecution.
The company which owns the vessel, West Coast Sea Products Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of £8,000.00, a victim surcharge of £120.00, £375.00 towards the costs of the prosecution and an additional discretionary fine, based on the value of the catch, of £5,647.00.