On Friday 15 May 2015 the Crown Court sentenced three owners of ten metre and under fishing vessels for exceeding monthly quota allocations.
Terry Stimpson, of Tudor Green, Clacton, was charged with three offences of failing to comply with the conditions of his fishing vessel licence which limited the quantity of cod he was permitted to land in the months of February and March of 2011, and skates and rays in March 2011.
Daniel Swallow, 25, of Seaview Avenue, West Mersea was charged with seven offences of failing to comply with the conditions of his fishing vessel licence which limited the quantity of skates and rays he was permitted to land in February, May, June, July, August, September and October of 2011.
James Craig, 19, of Woodstock, West Mersea was charged with an offence of failing to comply with the conditions of his fishing vessel licence which limited the quantity of skates and rays he was permitted to land in April 2011.
In order to maintain fish stocks, laws are set at European and national levels, and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in England enforces those laws.
The defendants were charged in late 2011 and first appeared before the court in early 2012. The defendants raised legal arguments that the prosecutions were an abuse of process and should be stayed by the court as they alleged the way in which the UK fisheries administrations allocated fishing quota between the UK fleet was unlawful and contrary to EU law.
The MMO opposed the defendants’ arguments and the Crown Court initially rejected them in March 2014. The defendants then exercised their right to appeal to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) which was also opposed by the MMO. That appeal was heard in January 2015 and the court gave its judgement in February 2015 refusing the defendants’ appeal.
The defendants, changed their pleas to guilty and were sentenced as follows:
Terry Stimpson was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay a contribution to the costs of the prosecution of £1,500.
Daniel Swallow was fined £3,150 and ordered to pay a contribution to the costs of the prosecution of £1,500.
James Craig was fined £500 and ordered to pay a contribution to the costs of the prosecution of £2,000.
The MMO is committed to protecting fish stocks and quota for law abiding fishermen who rely on these species to sustain their livelihoods. The majority of the fishing industry is compliant with the rules that govern its commercial activities, and the MMO takes proportionate compliance and enforcement action against those who are not compliant. Such decisions are taken in line with our Compliance and Enforcement Strategy and the Code for Crown Prosecutors.