Two Northern Ireland fishermen have been fined £6,500 for breaching Manx King Scallop regulations scottish skipper isle man court A Scottish fishing company has been fined £33,000 after one of its vessels was caught fishing for scallops in Manx waters without a licence

A Scottish fishing company has been fined £33,000 after one of its vessels was caught fishing for scallops in Manx waters without a licence

A Scottish fishing firm, the Star Fishing Company Limited, based in Oban, has been slapped with a £33,000 fine after one of its vessels, the ‘Star of Jura,’ was caught fishing for scallops in Manx waters without a required licence.

The incident occurred on 03 December 2022 when the vessel entered the territorial area of the Isle of Man between 1.40 am and 4.20 am. During this period, the crew managed to catch 408 kg of king scallops, with an estimated value of £8,948. Noteably, the fishing activity was not properly recorded in the vessel’s logbook, violating regulatory requirements.

In response to the illegal fishing activity, fisheries officers from the Department of Environment, Food, and Agriculture launched an investigation, traveling to Scotland to meet with the Star Fishing Company and conduct interviews.

Prosecutor Rachel Cubbon told the court the ‘Star of Jura’ entered Manx waters twice in the early hours on Saturday 03 December, which was confirmed when DEFA and Marine Scotland examined the boat’s on-board monitoring and tracking systems.

Further investigation of the Master’s daybook and electronic logbook revealed 12 bags of King Scallops had been landed in Manx waters, which was not declared.

The court heard the skipper had logged all other activity within UK waters on the same trip, which the court accepted was an attempt to disguise its illegal venture into Manx waters.

The ‘Star of Jura’

Defence advocate Jim Travers told the court his client was unaware of their Master’s activities and called it a ‘one-off rogue event’.

The investigation process incurred costs of nearly £4,500 to the taxpayer. The skipper in charge of the ‘Star of Jura’ at the time had acted without proper authorisation. Although charges could not be brought against him individually as he had left the UK and relocated to Poland, the fishing company emphasised that the skipper’s actions were not sanctioned and were described as a “frolic of the skipper’s own” and “His actions speak for themselves”.

According to the firm’s advocate, the ‘Star of Jura’ had initially collected 30 bags of scallops legitimately in UK waters before venturing into Manx waters. The incident was portrayed as an isolated occurrence involving a rogue skipper who was subsequently dismissed from the company as a result of the incident. The court handed down a fine of £20,000 to the Star Fishing Company, in addition to compensation for the scallop catch and the costs related to the prosecution.

The firm said the Master has been dismissed.

The Oban based company was ordered to pay Marine Scotland £4,474.53 in costs and DEFA £8,948.43 as compensation for the value of the catch.

The company has been granted a 12-month period to settle the fine and meet its financial obligations.

Clare Barber MHK Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

“The hefty fine sends a clear message and shows collaborative work with partner agencies are robust.

“DEFA is committed to ensuring the long-term viability of our fishing industry and the sustainability of stocks, like scallops – and is determined that anyone flouting the rules will be brought to justice.”

 

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