Black landings–an industry wide practice

mackerel3Fishing boat skipper David Hutchison has claimed the Scottish pelagic fishing industry has been singled out for punishment as 17 Shetland and Northeast skippers are facing tough fines for illegally landing black fish worth more £40 million.

In the High Court in Edinburgh, QC Murdo Macleod, defending Mr Hutchison argued that landing overquota mackerel and herring was an industry-wide practice, and not restricted to the group of fishermen currently being prosecuted.

Mr Macleod said his client regretted his part in the industry-wide practice and said the scam had grown in size during years when quotas were more stringent and there was more competition and asserted all the boats sailing from Whalsay began illegally landing extra fish.

According to Mr Macleod, Mr Hutchinson played a prominent role in the industry, and as vice chairman of the Scottish Pelagic Fish Association (SPFA) had taken part in national and international negotiations.

It would seem that leaders of the commercial fishermen’s representative bodies need to have more respect for the law; providing leadership is simple when you take the easy way out, true leaders deliver the hard messages and ensure conformance; theft is common place in society, that is no defence for breaking that law.

Category: Commercial

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