Aerial shots of Belgian trawler bring penalties –

Aerial shots of Belgian trawler bring penalties Published:  16 February, 2007

THE master and owners of the Belgian Trawler Arca (Z36) were fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £850 costs by magistrates at Milford Haven, today.

They had pleaded guilty to fishing illegally one and a half miles within a designated box area of the Celtic Sea which is closed as a conservation measure to protect cod.

The court heard that after first tracking Arca’s position via satellite, the Marine Fisheries Agency used its aerial surveillance plane to get photographic evidence of the Arca with towing gear in the water.

An Agency spokesman said:

“The closed boxes are a serious conservation measure so are subject to both satellite and aerial monitoring.

“Aerial photographs can play a vital part – as they did in this case – in quickly getting the evidence we need to bring a successful prosecution

“We take seriously our job of enforcing UK and European on laws on fishing. And we take action against anyone caught breaking the rules in order to both protect fish stocks and the future of the fishing industry.”

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