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Significant fines for illegal fishing send strong, clear message

Thursday, 29 March 2018

A double prosecution and significant fines for illegal fishing in the Isle of Man’s territorial waters send a strong, clear message that the Island is serious about protecting its seabed and the sustainability of the fishing industry says Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture.

Mr Mark Frood, master of the fishing vessel Georg Lou N TN38 and Mr Craig Petre, master of the fishing vessel Philomena TN37, were found to be fishing for king scallops within the Isle of Man’s territorial waters without an Isle of Man sea fishing licence.

Mr Frood was fined £15,000 and ordered to forfeit the value of his £23,532.26 catch, plus £250 costs.

Mr Petre was fined £12,000 and ordered to forfeit the value of his £22,791.09 catch, plus £250 costs.

Georg Lou-N Ltd, represented by Thomas Nicholson, was fined £20,000 plus £500 costs and Philomena Ltd, also represented by Mr Nicholson, was fined £20,000 plus £500 costs.

Data collected from vessel monitoring system (VMS) showed over a period of a week in November 2017, the Georg Lou N TN38 had spent 72:32 hours in Manx waters, 34:14 of which was at a speed indicative of fishing and the Philomena TN37 had spent 73:25 in Manx waters, 44:19 hours of which was at a speed indicative of fishing.

During his interview with officials from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, Mr Petre stated that the Philomena TN37 had 16 dredges on both sides of the vessel. The maximum permitted in Isle of Man waters is seven dredges on each side.

Both vessels were found to be within Manx waters without an operating Automatic Identification System (AIS) which is used to transmit a vessel’s position, speed and course. A functioning AIS is required for all British vessels of 15 metres or more.

Minister Boot said:

'The scale of this most recent example of illegal fishing is completely unacceptable. 

'The Isle of Man Government will not tolerate the industrial stripping of the Island’s sea-beds or the operation of unlicensed vessels within the Island’s waters.

'We work tirelessly to protect the Island’s fishing grounds to ensure their long term sustainability. It is in the interest of the fishing industry to work with us, as, simply put: without sustainability there will be no fish left to catch.

'Skippers and vessel owners who flagrantly break the rules potentially risk their own livelihoods and those of countless others in the wider industry.'

Any breaches of regulation made under the Fisheries Act 2012 may result in a fine of up to £100,000.

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