Fisheries lawyer, Andrew Oliver calls on fishermen who have been affected by iVMS not transmitting properly in the Devon and Severn IFCA district
Leading fisheries lawyer, Andrew Oliver of Hull-based, Andrew Jacksons Solicitors wants to hear from fishermen who may have been interviewed, cautioned, or prosecuted because of their iVMS not transmitting properly, or for a period of time in the Devon and Severn IFCA district.
Mobile gear vessels, fishing in the district have been required for some time by Devon and Severn IFCA to have a permit and one of their approved iVMS devices, installed and operational as a permit condition. It now appears that the IFCA may not have had the legal powers to prescribe which type of “electronic reporting device” vessels were installed.
Andrew Oliver said “There has been a steady stream of fishermen suffering from faulty iVMS kit, receiving warning letters and in some cases legal action as a result of them not transmitting for a period of time.
“It may be that some of these actions are open to retrospective challenge because it appears the IFCAs’ bylaw may not have empowered the Devon and Severn IFCA to specify which type of electronic reporting device, to install. Despite this, the IFCA did insist and enforce fishing vessels to have one of two companies’ devices installed.
“We are aware that some fishermen have found devices to be unreliable and faulty within warranty periods and we are interested in discovering if there is a pattern to this, and enforcement action by the IFCA.
“If the IFCA has unlawfully required fishermen to use a particular manufacturer’s device, and the unreliability of those devices was known to be an issue and still the IFCA investigated, cautioned, or prosecuted, there may be legal recourse for the fishermen.
“Some fishermen may have been forced to pay for costs of airtime, and in some cases replacement iVMS to meet the Devon and Severn permit condition, and it may be that those enforced costs, may have been unlawful and can also be subject to a legal challenge.
“At this time, I am looking to gather as much information as possible and see how widespread these issues are,” Andrew Oliver said.
Fishermen who have been affected by this are invited to email Andrew Oliver at ivmsLegal@gmail.com and are asked to attach documents, or pictures of documents and correspondence with the Devon and Severn IFCA along with a brief outline of which device they had installed, what issues occurred, and the outcome.