Owner and masters charged with fisheries offences

The owner and masters of an over-10-metre fishing vessel were ordered to pay almost £35,000 for multiple offences of failing to submit landing declarations and completing logbooks as well as a health and safety violation for failure to maintain a boarding ladder to a safe standard.

TN Trawlers, owners of scallop dredger Sea Lady (TN20), and masters Christopher Nicholson and William Anderson appeared at separate hearings at Truro Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that in May 2012 a Marine Management Organisation (MMO) inspection took place in Newlyn where it was identified that the catch aboard the vessel had been under recorded in the electronic logbook.

In March 2013 the vessel was inspected at sea by the Royal Navy where the boarding ladder was found to be below safety standards.

At a hearing on 4 October 2013, TN Trawlers, represented by Tom Nicholson, pleaded guilty to all charges. One of the masters, Christopher Nicholson pleaded guilty to charges relating to logbook and landing declarations. Sentencing was set for 22 November 2013 but another master, William Anderson did not appear. On 15 January 2014 he voluntarily attended court having pleaded guilty to all charges.

On 22 November 2013 TN Trawlers were ordered to pay £13,500 fines, £11,860.83 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Christopher Nicholson was ordered to pay £4,000 fines, £1317.87 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

On 15 January 2014 William Anderson was ordered to pay £3500 fines, £500 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

MMO recognises that the vast majority of the fishing industry is compliant with the rules that govern its commercial activities. We aim to encourage compliance with fisheries legislation through education, advice and guidance to the industry wherever possible. Where necessary we may take enforcement action which could result in a court appearance, potential fines for masters and owners, and forfeiture of equipment imposed by the court.