Kenneth Savels, master of Belgian beam trawler Van Eyck (Z53) and owner Irina NV (represented by Steven Savels) were sentenced at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on 26 September 2017 in a prosecution brought by the MMO.
The court heard how the defendants had failed to maintain an accurate logbook by incorrectly recording the area of capture for sole and plaice on several trips in 2015.
On 7 May 2015 the Van Eyck was boarded by MMO officers on a joint patrol with the Isle of Man Fisheries Department in Welsh waters. A diary was found containing details of 12 fishing trips in 2015. The recordings for three of these trips did not corroborate recordings in the logbook.
Both entered not guilty pleas but were found guilty by the judge. Irina NV was ordered to pay a £27,000 fine, £9,115 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Kenneth Savels was ordered to pay a fine of £3,000 and a £120 victim surcharge.
In sentencing, the judge said:
Taking together all of the evidence for all of the trips, I am satisfied that there are no credible or plausible explanations for the existence of the diary or the inconsistencies between the diary and the log. On each contentious trip there is a clear incentive to misrecord.
A spokesperson 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 record logbook information correctly.
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.