Fisheries Minister welcomes penalties

| February 24, 2012

17 Scottish skippers and one processing plant were fined a total of £960,000  in the High Court for offences relating to undeclared fish landings between 2002 and 2005 in contravention of sea fishing legislation.

Speaking after the court hearings, Lindsey Miller, Head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division, said: “Organised crime takes many forms. These individuals may not have been involved in drug dealing or prostitution but let us make no mistake that they were involved in significant and serious organised criminality.

In a statement, Fisheries Secretary Lochhead welcomed the penalties saying : “I welcome the verdicts reached today and pay tribute to the police and officers of Marine Scotland for their efforts in what has been a long and vastly complicated enquiry, ensuring that there is no hiding place for such appalling behaviour.

“These cases demonstrate Scotland’s commitment to transparent, sustainable fishing in our waters backed up with effective enforcement. It is important that all countries in Europe do what we have done in Scotland by stamping out such illegal activity.

“There is no doubt that these illegal activities are a stark and shameful reminder of the culture that existed in some sectors of the fishing industry in past years but they do not reflect the much improved culture we see today.

“The offences date back up to a decade ago and, thankfully, there has been seismic change in the attitude and behaviour of the fishing fleet, which can only be good thing in securing a viable future for the industry in Scotland.

“The judicial process has resulted in the fines applied today, while funds have also been recovered through Proceeds of Crime. In addition, annual cuts in quota for all vessels involved have been applied in recent years so that fish caught in excess of quotas are taken back.

Cephas Ralph, Head of Compliance at Marine Scotland said: “Marine Scotland is determined to secure the future of the many coastal communities that depend upon Scotland’s seas.  Anyone contemplating systematic law-breaking would do well to heed the warning and clear message contained within the sentences imposed today – that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Category: Scottish Government News

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