The safeguarding and sustainability of fish stocks in Manx waters has been reinforced by the latest prosecution for illegal fishing.
Mr Dinars Lugans, of Lincoln, England, Master of the fishing vessel Prosperity FD 537, appeared in Court on Tuesday 18th December to face prosecution for illegal fishing in Manx waters, where he pleaded guilty to retaining Whelk under the minimum landing size.
Mr Lugans was fined £25,000 for the misconduct and £125 in costs. His catch, valued at approximately £3,500 was forfeited.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), said:
'We have strict laws in place in Manx waters to protect our fishing stocks. Undersized Whelk like other commercially caught fish in our waters must be returned to the sea immediately until of a legal size to be landed to ensure the sustainability of the stock.
'This prosecution helps to reinforce our zero tolerance approach to illegal fishing and demonstrates our commitment to pursuing those in breach of the policy. I'd like to praise the Fisheries Directorate at DEFA for their continued hard work in monitoring illegal fishing, enabling us to enforce this policy and hold to account those who do not abide by Manx law in Manx waters.'
On the 11th December 2018, Prosperity FD 537 was boarded by DEFA Sea Fishery Officers while out at sea.
On inspection, 93 bags of whelk were found on board, and within a selected sample of this catch, over 64% of the product was recorded as being under the legal 75mm minimum landing size. The minimum size is intended to ensure Whelk are able to breed successfully, which is a key part of protecting the long term sustainability of the fish stocks.
Under the Fisheries Act 2012, any breach of this fisheries legislation may result in a fine of up to £100,000, forfeiture of catch, boat and or gear. A sea fishing licence may also be suspended or revoked upon conviction. A notice of suspension of the fishing licence has been issued.