Worthing Magistrates Court heard how, in November 2015, the vessel was inspected by Marine Management Organisation (MMO) marine enforcement officers at Shoreham and a quantity of scallops below the minimum conservation reference size of 110mm were found amongst the vessel’s catch. On further inspection it was revealed that 8.09% of the entire catch was below the prescribed legal size, which equated to some 2.65 metric tonnes of scallops which were undersized that had been retained.
The court sentenced Mr Poland to a fine of £1,400, together with a contribution to the costs of the prosecution of £150 and a statutory victim surcharge of £100. Macduff Fishing Fleet Limited was fined £16,409 and ordered to pay £3,567 towards the costs of the prosecution, and a victim surcharge of £120.
A spokesman for the MMO said:
Whilst 8.09% of the entire catch seems like a low percentage, the total quantity in live weight of 2.65 metric tonnes is very large and the impact on the stocks is potentially considerable. By taking this enforcement action the MMO has acted to help ensure that this vessel was not able to profit from retaining and landing undersized fish.
The MMO wants to protect the large majority of fishers who take great efforts to put processes in place to ensure that undersized shellfish are not landed. The penalty applied sends a strong message that landing undersized catch is a serious offence and one which can result in considerable fines.