At Poole Magistrates Court, brothers Andrew Skinner and Christopher Skinner of Poole pleaded guilty to obstruction and retaining undersize shellfish Seafish has produced new guidance and training as part of significant changes to the Official Control Regulations on shellfish poole fishermen undersized cockle

Two fishermen plead guilty at Poole Magistrates Court to the possession of undersized cockle in Poole Harbour

Poole fishermen Andrew Skinner and Reginald Skinner pleaded guilty on Wednesday 29 November 2023, at Poole Magistrates Court to charges related to the possession of undersized cockles in Poole Harbour.

The charges, laid by the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Southern IFCA), were brought under the Fishing for Cockles Byelaw (prohibition 4) and Section 163 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The court imposed fines and costs totaling £6,456.00 on both individuals.

The court heard that on the morning of Tuesday, 13 June 2023, Andrew Skinner was inspected by officers at Fisherman’s Dock, Poole Quay. At the time, Mr. Skinner was in possession of 7 bags of cockles and 7 bags of manila clams, caught using the fishing vessel LULA BON PE892 in Poole Harbour. The vessel is jointly owned by Andrew Skinner and his father, Reginald Skinner.

Subsequent inspection of the catch revealed that the manila clams were mostly compliant with the minimum conservation reference size of 35mm. However, samples taken from the cockles indicated that 33.86% were undersized, passing through a gauge with a square opening measuring 23.8mm on each side. The total weight of all shellfish landed by Mr. Skinner was approximately 390kg.

As joint owners of the vessel, both Andrew Skinner and Reginald Skinner were held liable for the breach of regulations. Each received fines of £1,200.00 and were ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,548.00, along with a surcharge of £480.00.

Deputy Chief Officer Sam Dell commented on the case, stating, “This case sends a clear message that failing to comply with the Authority’s regulations will not be tolerated. The Southern IFCA is committed to the protection of our fish stocks and coastal fisheries, ensuring healthy seas and a viable industry. By taking offenders to court, we aim to support a sustainable local fishery.” The case underscores the importance of adherence to regulations to preserve marine resources and maintain a thriving fishing industry in the region.

 

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