A RECORD fine of £1.2m has been dished out by a Welsh court after it was proven that two Anglo-Spanish trawler companies were illegally plundering west
Incredibly Plymouth Fishing and Sante Fe Shipping declared only four per cent of their catches in the log book fiddle.
It’s believed they got away with more than £1m of illegally caught hake, monkfish and angler fish before the ruse was uncovered. Officials say they have nine more similar cases pending.
A jury at Swansea Crown Court convicted the two firms of 26 offences involving falsified log books, bogus landing declarations and other infringements.
The court was told successive skippers of a trawler called ‘White Sands’ were involved in the scam, which was only ended when the Royal Navy boarded the vessel and towed it into Milford Haven.
Geraint Walters, prosecuting, said the vessel plundered the seas for two and a half years in an “almost unbelievably simple scam”. The vessel’s logbook entries were initially completed in pencil but if the ship was not inspected at sea, the pencil was rubbed out and a smaller catch entered in pen. This resulted in an under declaration of approximately 165 tonnes of hake. Judge Christopher Morton fined