Belgians Fined £43,000 and Forfeit Gear –

Belgians Fined £43,000 and Forfeit Gear Published:  09 September, 2008

Owners and the master of the Belgian beam trawler Neptunus were ordered to pay a total of £43,374 in fines and costs by Lowestoft Magistrates on Monday September 8th after pleading guilty to fishing with blinders in both trawl nets.

In the case brought by the Marine and Fisheries Agency, magistrates levied fines of £34,000 to the value of the catch, £1,700 for each of the four offences, and confiscated Neptunus’s gear including both beams, shoes, nets and chains.

The bench heard it was the second time Neptunus skipper, Frank Vandewalle, 37, of Blankenberge, Belgium and owners Olympus NV of Zeebrugge had been caught using blinders – netting fitted inside the codend – in their trawl nets which prevents the release of immature fish.

The court was told that Neptunus was boarded at 10 pm on Thursday September 4th by a UK led international fishery inspection team taking part in a Joint Deployment Plan for Cod in the North Sea.

British, Belgian and Dutch fishery inspectors working from the Dutch fishery protection vessel Barend Biesheuvel boarded Neputus which was fishing for sole and plaice in the southern North Sea 20 miles east of Lowestoft. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.