Whitby Trawler Skipper Richard Brewer To Pay £6000 For Ignoring Cod Recovery Laws

The skipper and owner of the Whitby Fishing trawler Copious was ordered to pay a total of £6630 by magistrates at Scarborough on February 20th.

Skipper Richard Brewer, 55, of Mulgrave Road, Whitby, and his company Arrivain Fishing Co., also of Whitby, had pleaded guilty to breaking conservation rules on two separate fishing trips, in a case brought by the Marine and Fisheries Agency.

The court heard how Copious was boarded at sea on April 9 2008 by British Sea Fisheries Officers from the Royal Navy fishery protection vessel HMS Severn.

Cod recovery measures mean that trawlers fishing north of a 55 degrees “ a line roughly parallel with North Shields – should have at least 30 per cent of their catch made up of nephrops.

Fishing grounds in the North Sea, North of 55 degrees North are predominantly cod catching areas. To protect cod stocks the minimum mesh size to be used North of this line has been increased to allow smaller cod to escape.

The officers found that Brewer’s catch was made up of less than three per cent nephrops. In addition the Copious’s fishing log-book falsely showed Brewer had been fishing south of 55 degrees.

The court heard that the MFA’s fishing vessel satellite tracking system showed Copious to have been North of 55 degrees for most of his trip.

A subsequent check of the satellite data of an earlier trip in that April showed Copious to be north of the 55 degree line where Brewer’s log book claimed the fish it landed had been caught south of the line.

After the case an MFA spokesmen said:

“The cod recovery measures have done much to increase cod stocks in recent years, and this not least because forward thinking fishermen buy into them – for obvious reasons.

“This was the opposite. Mr. Brewer blatantly chose to ignore conversation measures and break the law for his own financial gain.

“The MFA is determined to enforce the laws which are designed to conserve fish stocks in the interests of fishermen and their industry. We will act and, if necessary prosecute, those who deliberately set out to break those laws.”
Notes to Editors

The Marine and Fisheries Agency is an executive agency of Defra which is tasked with service delivery, inspection, and enforcement of the fishing industry and other marine users in England and Wales.

The MFA has overall responsibility for the enforcement of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and its associated regulations within the 60,000 square miles of English and Welsh waters.

Any vessel, regardless of size or nationality, fishing in British waters is subject to inspection which is designed to conserve fish stocks and protect the interests of the fishing industry as a whole.

MFA’s key objectives are:

* to be a key partner in the management of marine fisheries
* to enforce regulations, professionally, consistently and fairly
* to contribute to the sustainable use of the marine environment
* to provide specialist information to inform the development of policy and its effective implementation.

MFA press contact: Peter Hooley 0207-270-1985 / 07771-505-655