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Manx Fishermen Convicted of Fishing in Port Erin Experimental Area 14 April 2008

mfv Our Sarah JaneMelvyn Reid, skipper and owner of the Manx Registered fishing Vessel ‘Our Sarah Jane CT141’ pleaded guilty on Friday 14th April to a charge that he had been illegally fishing inside the Port Erin Experimental Area on the previous day. High Bailiff Michael Moyle fined Mr Reid £7,500, plus £500 costs for illegal fishing. Mr Reid was also prohibited from fishing within the territorial waters of the Isle of Man for a period of seven days. This is the second time Mr Reid has been convicted of this offence.

Commenting on the case, Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said ‘The evidence suggesting that the Experimental Area in Port Erin is both safeguarding and enhancing the Manx scallop fishery is growing every year. Illegal fishing of this nature undermines the livelihoods of all Manx scallop fishermen, as well as risking the sound reputation the Isle of Man has earned for the ongoing conservation efforts my Department is making. Behaviour such as that exhibited by Mr Reid is simply unacceptable, and in my view Mr Reid has betrayed both his colleagues and the industry he works in. The Department will continue to vigorously police the Port Erin Closed Area, and make every effort to ensure that the benefits the area provides to our fishing industry are not destroyed by the actions of a single selfish individual.’

Graham Cregeen MHK, Member for Fisheries, added

‘The Department was made aware that illegal fishing had been taking place in the Port Erin closed area and as a result monitored the area in such a way as to ensure a successful prosecution. I am disappointed that a local fisherman would put at risk this valuable area, for short term financial gain and I am sure that the majority of responsible fishermen within the industry share this view. The Department continues to encourage responsible fishing and will take whatever measures available to protect the future of fishing in Isle of Man waters and continues to encourage the industry to help protect its own future.’

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