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Cumbrian Trawlerman Prosecuted For Scallop Fishing Offences 3 December 2007

Bonnie Lass III being boarded by Officers of the IOM GovtThe skipper of a Cumbrian fishing vessels was fined a total of £5,000 with £150 costs by the High Bailiff, Mr Michael Moyle on Friday afternoon at a special court in Douglas.

Brian McGuirk, skipper of CN126 Bonnie Lass III had his vessel boarded off Kallow Point, Port St Mary by Isle of Man Sea Fisheries Officers from the Fisheries Protection Vessel Barrule. The vessel was found to have a quantity of scallops on board with shells below the legal minimum size of 110mm. Mr McGuirk of Maryport, Cumbria pleaded guilty to the offence which took place on the 22nd November 2007.

Having heard the facts of the case the High Bailiff imposed a fine of £5,000 on Mr McGuirk with £150 costs. The vessel was detained until the fine was paid and all undersized scallops were disposed of. Subsequently the fines and costs were paid in full by the defendant.

Welcoming the conviction, the Hon. Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for DAFF said: ‘The Isle of Man has built an enviable reputation for sustainable management of our scallop stocks. I will not have this reputation tarnished by vessel owners wishing to make a quick buck at the expense of other, more responsible, fishermen. I have instructed officers to draft amendments to our Sea Fisheries Act in 2008, to enable the Department to suspend or revoke permits to fish within Manx waters in cases such as this, and to consider increasing the minimum level of fine for an offence of this nature. Those few irresponsible fishermen, who are willing to put their own, and others’ livelihoods at risk will have to learn that such behaviour will not be tolerated in the Manx Territorial Sea’

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