NIFCA prosecution results in fines and costs £2,400

On 22 June, Charles Michael Denton of Newbiggin by the Sea was sentenced by North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court for two breaches of national fisheries legislation, having been found guilty of retaining 179 lobsters below the MCRS.

Elizabeth Rowley of Andrew Jackson Solicitors, prosecuting on behalf of Northumberland IFCA (NIFCA), informed the court that on 18 July, 2022 Mr Denton, owner/skipper of Talisman II BK 176, was observed at sea by two NIFCA officers setting conspicuous plastic boxes along with lobster pots off the coast of Cambois.

The two officers, aboard one of NIFCA’s enforcement vessels, were able to recover these boxes, and found 168 lobsters measuring below the MCRS stored inside. Meanwhile, Mr Denton had landed the remainder of his day’s catch to a wholesaler in Blyth. NIFCA officers inspected this catch and found another 11 undersize lobsters.

Mr Denton was prosecuted for two offences – failing to immediately return the 168 lobsters in the keep boxes to the sea, and failing to return and landing the further batch of 11. He pleaded not guilty to the first offence and guilty to the second.

After hearing evidence from the NIFCA officers and from Mr Denton, the bench found him guilty of both offences. Mr Denton was sentenced to pay a fine of £1,000, a further £1,000 in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £400.

Nick Weir, lead enforcement officer for NIFCA, said: “The authority is pleased that the court recognises the importance of national fisheries legislation. Mr Denton’s disregard for legislation designed to protect fish stocks is absolutely unacceptable.

“By preventing these lobsters reaching maturity and spawning he has endangered the long- term sustainability of the fishery, affecting the entire fishing community.

“Our byelaws, in conjunction with national legislation, balance the social, environmental and economic needs of our stakeholders to promote healthy seas, sustainable fishing and a viable industry. To ensure this, NIFCA will vigorously pursue anyone who jeopardises the health of the fishery or fails to comply with our officers and legislation.”

In March, Mr Denton was prosecuted and fined a total of £634 for impeding NIFCA officers who were attempting to inspect his unlicensed trawler Andigee (Fishing News, 23 March, ‘Fine for failing to comply’) – a conviction that brought his running tally of fisheries offences to over 30.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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