DUTCH TRAWLER SKIPPER GUILTY OF ILLEGAL FISHING OFF DONEGAL

first_imgA DUTCH trawler skipper has been fined €105,000 after being found guilty of illegal fishing in Co Donegal waters.Gerrit Plug was found guilty by a jury in Donegal Town Circuit Court today of three counts.The jury returned an 11-1 majority verdict in two of the charges and a unanimous verdict in the third charge. Plug, is the owner of the skipper of the 144-metre long Annelies Ilena, formerly the Atlantic Dawn, which was stopped by the Irish Navy vessel LE Roisin on November 22, 2013, off Tory Island.The jury found him guilty of failing to record discards over 50kg and guilty of discarding mackerel over 15cms which he should have kept on board.They also found him guilty of having a larger space between bars in the factory area of the boat which would have discarded mackerel the skipper should have kept on board.It is a landmark ruling for the country’s Sea Fisheries Protection officers who gave evidence over three days.The rules are in place to prevent over-fishing.The prosecution had alleged that the Annelies Ilena was deliberately discarding smaller fish to increase the value of its catch.More than 50kg of fish were found in a scupper – or discharge chute – by naval and sea fisheries staff.All of the mackerel were more than 15cms long. Instead of being weighed and counted against the ship’s quota, they were to be discharged into the Atlantic.Other more serious and technical charges were withdrawn from the jury by Judge John O’Hagan.There are 13 Irish fishermen among the 58 crew aboard the ship, which is currently docked off the Canary Islands.The verdict could affect future quotas for the Dutch-registered trawler.Richard Lyons, senior counsel, said his client had been fishing for 39 years without any previous convictions.Patricia McLaughlin, for the prosecution, said the maximum fine on each charge was €35,000.She also said that forfeiture of all the gear and catch – worth €5.8M – was part of the legislation.However Mr Lyons argued this was not correct.Judge O’Hagan said he didn’t believe the legislation allowed for the mandatory forfeiture of catches and gear.He imposed a total fine of €105,00 on Plug – the maximum €35,000 on each of the three charges.The judge said the vessel was the “King of the Seas” and added: “As such it should be setting a good example to other fishermen and other trawlers.”DUTCH TRAWLER SKIPPER GUILTY OF ILLEGAL FISHING OFF DONEGAL was last modified: March 27th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Annelies Ilenaatlantic dawnGerrit Plugguiltyskipperlast_img read more