A trawler skipper caught fishing illegally less than six miles off Hastings has been ordered by Brighton magistrates to pay a total of £10,300 in fines and costs.
 
The prosecution on March 29 was brought by the Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee and the Marine Fisheries Agency (MFA) office at Shoreham, against Karl George, 43, of Brixham, Devon, captain of the beam trawler, Angus Rose.
 
For the prosecution, David Buck said a large vessel like the Angus Rose fishing inside the six mile limit had a damaging impact on the marine environment and in-shore fish stocks.
 
The MFA press release on the case follows:
 
BRIXHAM BEAMER TO PAY £10,300 AFTER LOG BOOK OFFENCES AND FISHING INSIDE THE SIX MILE LIMIT OFF SUSSEX.
 
Karl George, 43, owner and skipper of the Brixham beam trawler Angus Rose, was fined a £6,500  with a further £3,800 costs, by Brighton magistrates on March 29th after pleading guilty to 17 log book offences and fishing inside the protected six mile limit off Hastings.
 
In a joint prosecution by the Marine Fisheries Agency and the Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee, Mr. George, of Orchard Grove, Brixham, was fined £300 for each log book offence making a total of £5,100. He was fined a further £1,400 for fishing inside the six mile limit.
 
In an interview submitted to the court, Mr. George admitted to Marine Fisheries inspectors that he never filled his log book until the end of a fishing trip. The rules state that he is required to do so by midnight every night.
 
Magistrates told Mr. George that he had had sufficient warnings in the past about log book offences. And that there were good reasons for logging requirements. They  were for the protection of fish stocks and  proper information regarding fishing activity.
 
Prosecuting for the Marine Fisheries Agency and the Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee,  David Buck, said a large vessel like the Angus Rose fishing inside the six mile limit had a damaging impact on the marine environment and in-shore fish stocks.
 
Magistrates said it was clear that the Angus Rose had consistently fished within the six mile limit and there was no excuse for it because sophisticated equipment on board showed Mr. George exactly where he was.
 
Mr. George claimed the log book offences were ‘minor clerical errors’ and his encroachment inside the six mile limit was because he was short-handed and tired.
 
Magistrates said that after previous warnings and a small fine and a conditional discharge in the past it was time to impose a significant financial penalty.
 
Paul Johnson, senior MFA fisheries officer based at Shoreham said: “This case shows the Marine Fisheries Agency and the Sussex Sea Fisheries Committee working in partnership to enforce the rules which are designed preserve the inshore marine environment and fish stocks.”


 

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