A fishing boat company and the boat’s skipper have been fined £10,000 for catching undersized whelks.
A K Marine Limited and Liam Gregory Caine admitted that 11.7 per cent of their catch on the Manx Shearwater (DO118) was under the legal limit of 75 millimetres.
Advocate Peter Russell entered a guilty plea on behalf of the company, which was represented in court by director Adrian Kinrade.
It was fined £7,500.
Boat skipper Caine, who is 21, also pleaded guilty to the same offence and was fined £2,500.
Prosecuting advocate Barry Swain told the court that sea fishery officers from the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture were making routine inspections at Isle of Man Seafood Products in Peel on January 27.
The whelk catch from the Manx Shearwater was being held in preparation for processing, having been landed the previous evening.
There were two and a half bags of whelks from the vessel.
Checks found that a number of the whelks were under the permitted 75mm limit.
Officers examined 37 per cent of the total catch, which the boat’s owner, Mr Kinrade, agreed was an accurate representation.
Out of 6,866 whelks measured, 806 were found to be undersized.
Mr Kinrade and the boat skipper, Caine, who lives at Glen Maye Road in Patrick, attended an interview at DEFA headquarters in St John’s and admitted responsibility.
They said that there had been two new crew members on board the boat, on the day in question, and one of them had been left to ‘size the catch’.
They said that the two men had since been dismissed and Mr Kinrade said that they were looking into other methods to measure the whelks in future.
He said that he would not have gained financially as the whelks would not have been accepted.
The court heard that there had been a previous caution issued in May 2021 for fishing for whelks with an excessive number of pots.
A representative of the DEFA was in court who said that the boat’s licence had been suspended but that this would be lifted once the matter was dealt with.
This had not stopped the boat from fishing but did prevent it from being sold or having its name changed.
Defence advocate Mr Russell said that a whelk riddle, which is used for processing the whelks on board the boat, was in use but had not been used correctly by the new crew member.
Mr Russell said that Mr Kinrade would be paying the financial penalties and Caine would pay him back for his portion over a period of time.
The advocate also pointed out that there is a 10 per cent allowance for undersized whelks under the regulations, and his clients only had 11.7 per cent of their catch under the permitted size.
Mr Russell said, had it not been for the previous cautions, the matter may not have been brought to court.
High Bailiff Jayne Hughes also ordered the A K Marine Limited, whose registered office is at Glen Maye, Patrick, to pay £1,084, which was the value of the catch which was in a holding account, as well as £50 prosecution costs, and £90 for a Bulgarian translator who had been used during interviews.
Caine was also ordered to pay £50 prosecution costs.
All parties were given three months to pay.