The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

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Solway trawler fleet owner fined £472000

Dumfries and Galloway firm TN Trawlers, owned by Tom Nicholson of Annan, admitted a total of 26 offences which broke European regulations controlling catches of specified species of fish and owner.

He was ordered to pay £472,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act and given six months to raise the cash or face a jail term. He was also fined £27,000 at Newcastle Crown Court.

The case followed an 18-month investigation between January 2004 and July 2005 by the Marine and Fisheries Agency into the so-called “black fish” trade.

Last year, six of his skippers were fined in connection with the probe.

Judge David Wood told Nicholson that a message had to be sent out to people in the fishing industry that breaking the rules would not be tolerated and would be met with large penalties.

But the message isn’t strong enough judge, how can someone break so many rules and still retain their vessels, company and licence ?

The Judge went on “It is well known that fishing stocks around the UK and European countries are seriously depleted and some stocks are threatened with extinction,”

Except Judge for elements of the commercial fishing sector, Defra and the Scottish Marine Directorate - they would have us believe all is well in the marine environment and stocks are being managed sustainably.

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