Largest ever fine imposed for MMO fisheries case
Hake is a particularly vulnerable fish stock
A Spanish fishing company, its UK subsidiary and the captains of two vessels have been ordered to pay a total of £1.62m for illegal fishing – the highest amount ever imposed in a Marine Management Organisation (MMO) fisheries case.
The sentence is in relation to illegal overfishing of ling and hake, a particularly vulnerable fish stock, between 2009 and 2010 by two fishing vessels – one registered in Spain, one in the UK.
The MMO first detected offences in July 2010 following a routine boarding of the Coyo Tercero - owned by Hijos de Vidal Bandin SA, a Spanish company. A connection was also discovered at the time with the UK registered vessel O’Genita, owned by subsidiary company Sealskill Ltd, of Fleetwood, Lancashire, UK.
In August 2010, MMO officers searched the O’Genita while in port in Lochinver, Scotland, with investigations revealing extensive illegal trans-shipment of fish caught in Scottish and Irish waters then landed into Spain and the UK.
Danny Poulding, senior investigating officer for the Marine Management Organisation, said: "This company systematically abused the quota system for significant and unfair financial gain, threatening the future sustainability of an already vulnerable fish stock and impacting on the businesses of legitimate fishermen by flooding the market with cheaper fish.”
"The majority of the fishing industry is compliant with the rules that govern its commercial activities, but we will ensure that those who aren’t do not enjoy unfair financial advantage from illegal sales."
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