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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Fined £100,000 from a £437,000 catch!

THE owner of a Dutch super-trawler caught fishing mackerel illegally by the Royal Navy has been allowed to sell its haul for £437,000 - but only pay a fraction of the profits in fines.

The Frank Bonefaas was found to be carrying 632,000kg of mackerel that it had caught in a protected area off south west England, where fishing is restricted. Juvenile mackerel gather in the area with restrictions in place to ensure youngsters reach maturity without stocks collapsing. The trawler's owners were fined little over £100,000 sparking fury.

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Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson said: "This highlights the failure of the government's own fisheries quango to stop vast foreign trawlers from profiting even from illegal catches in British waters.

"This fresh failure from the government's fisheries quango the Marine Management Organisation is particularly abject. So feeble is the protection of British waters that even a conviction for a huge illegal haul wreaking havoc on fish stocks hasn't stopped foreign owners from turning a six-figure profit on that same illegal catch.

"A useless quango can't even enforce adequately the last remaining legal rights we still hold over our own waters. EU membership and the Common Fisheries Policy strips any government of the option to kick these foreign fleets out. 'This is a damning blow to my own fishermen in Folkestone and Hythe and across the south east that I represent. Folkestone Trawlers are unable to put to sea for the remainder of thie month as they too have already fulfilled their EU quota:

"The sea around Kent is teeming with fish but we just can`t catch any of it due to EU quotas."

According to reports, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the government agency which brought the prosecution, has admitted the Dutch company that owns the trawler, had been allowed to keep the catch.

A spokesman said that the MMO had invited the court to consider imposing a fine that would match the full value of the haul but it had chosen not to do so.

Source courtesy of the Folkestone Herald: