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Maryport fisherman pleads guilty to breaking fishing curfew

Thursday, 8 November 2012

On Thursday 8 November George Southwell, skipper of the Maryport fishing vessel Sam Lewette II MT 123 appeared before the Deputy High Bailiff, Mrs Jayne Hughes at a court in Douglas, Isle of Man.

Fisheries Officers from the Island's Fisheries Protection Vessel Barrule had boarded the vessel at approximately 7pm on 6 November, some 1.5 nautical miles North East of Clay Head. The vessel was found to be fishing for scallops a full one hour after the time when the vessel should have hauled its fishing gear. There are strict limitations on the time that any vessel can fish for scallops within the Island's Territorial Sea. The permitted hours of operation being set out in the Sea Fisheries (Scallop Fishing) Bye Laws 2010, as 6am to 6pm in the area this vessel was detained in.  

The Deputy High Bailiff commented in court:

'It is obvious by the fine available to this court (maximum £50,000) that the government of the Isle of Man deem this to be serious offence. However I note your cooperation with this court and the fact that you pleaded guilty to the offence at the earliest opportunity. I therefore accept that it was a genuine error.'

Having heard the facts of the case the Deputy High Bailiff imposed a fine of £6,000 on Mr Southwall with £125 costs.  The vessel was detained in Douglas until the fine was paid.

The Member for fisheries Mrs Kate Beecroft, MHK commented:

'The Department and the fishing industry have cooperated in achieving an enviable reputation for the management and improvement of the scallop fishery within the Island's Territorial Sea. The restrictions of fishing time placed on the industry are an important component of this conservation regime. It is therefore vital that no one individual gains from breaking the rules when the vast majority of fishermen can see the benefits of having a well managed and regulated industry.

I hope the detention and subsequent conviction gives a clear message to all skippers operating within Manx Territorial Waters that they must all abide by the bye-laws, which are in place to ensure a sustainable and viable industry for all stakeholders.'

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