The skippers and owners of beam trawler Northern Joy H-225 have been fined £88,777.60 for fisheries offences for fisheries offences, following a prosecution brought by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
The Hull-registered Northern Joy operates from Harlingen, and its skippers Simon Ras and Simon Wezelman, and the vessel owner’s, North Atlantic Fishing Company Limited, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court earlier this month.
The prosecution was brought due to multiple breaches of the vessel’s licence conditions, being entry into seasonal closures at speeds consistent with fishing and the retention and landing of bass.
The prosecution explained to the court that the MMO had detected the vessel entering a seasonal closure at speeds consistent with fishing initially in January 2018, in breach of its fishing licence conditions. Following the initial observation, an MMO marine officer contacted the vessel’s owners to alert them to the problem. But Northern Joy was logged entering the closed area at speeds consistent with trawling on a further ten occasions over the following three months.
In addition, despite having no authorisation to catch bass, between October 2017 and March 2018 Northern Joy declared catches of sea bass worth £7500 via its electronic log.
The owner (represented by Matthew Cox) and both skippers pleaded guilty to all charges.
NAFC was fined a total of £67,000 in respect of the offences and an additional fine of £7400, being the value of the bass that had been unlawfully landed and sold. NAFC was also ordered to pay £3267.60 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170.
Simon Ras was fined £6000 for the offences, £500 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170. Simon Wezelman was fined £3600 for the offences, £500 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170.