Scallop skipper faces £5,000 bill for illegal fishing –

Scallop skipper faces £5,000 bill for illegal fishing Published:  01 October, 2009

THE former coxswain of the Torbay Lifeboat faces a bill of more than £5,000 for illegally fishing for scallop off the Devon Coast.

David Hurford is now skipper of the 15metre Brixham scalloper Constant Friend BM484 and he pleaded guilty to dredging illegally in an area that had been specially reserved for crabs and lobster pots.

The case was brought by the Marine and Fisheries Agency which has a base in Devon. Mr Hurford, who lives in Brixham, admitted breaching the terms of his licence. He was fined £3,000, with £1,920 costs and ordered to pay £250 towards the value of the catch.

The MFA said in a statement after the case that Constant Friend was boarded by officers from the Devon Sea Fisheries Committee after being spotted on April 20 between Berry Head and the mouth of the Dart – an area closed to scallop dredging according to the south Devon trawling and crabbing chart.

The agency added that defence solicitor David Hassall told the court that the offence was a genuine mistake by a member of the crew on a bright sunny day when they knew officials would be present. He told the inspector that he realised he had been fishing a little close to the prohibited area.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency is an executive agency of Defra which is tasked with service delivery, inspection, and enforcement of the fishing industry. Three weeks ago, the skipper of another South Coast vessel was ordered to pay a total of £12,000 for different fishing offences.