Irish skipper lands hefty fine – Fishupdate.com
Irish skipper lands hefty fine Published: 27 October, 2005
THE SKIPPER of an Irish fishing boat landed a big fine at Lerwick Sheriff Court today, Thursday, when he admitted falsifying his log book to save time and money.
Seamus Doherty, aged 62, of Donegal, recorded that he had been off Ireland on a fishing trip from Sunday to Tuesday this week when he had caught 240 tonnes of mackerel, worth an estimated £288,000.
However when he landed his catch in Shetland, fisheries protection officers checked with their monitoring headquarters in Edinburgh who said Doherty’s vessel Western Viking had never left the North Sea during the entire three day trip.
The court heard that Doherty was trying save time by catching as much mackerel as he could before the shoals migrated to “western waters” around Ireland, where fishing boats have a three month window to catch the fish from October to the end of the year.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it was a “flagrant breach” of the European Union’s fishing conservation measures. He said: “Fishery conservation would simply collapse in its entirety without a diligent, trustworthy completion of logsheets. The importance of that cannot be emphasised enough.”
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Doherty stood to make no personal financial gain from misrecording his catch. He said the Western Viking’s quota allowed them to catch 3,400 tonnes of mackerel, and he still had plenty of quota in the North Sea left to catch.
Mr Allan explained that he had gained time by catching fish in eastern waters before they migrated west, so he would not have to spend so much time fishing in the winter months and could tie the boat up sooner. He added that the actual value of the catch had been £190,000.
Sheriff Graeme Napier said: “This is one of the most blatant cases of misrecording I have dealt with.” Had there been any financial gain he would have been “sorely tempted” to fine him the value of the catch, but instead he fined him £17,500.
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