The skipper of an English fishing trawler has been fined £25,000 for illegal fishing in Manx waters.
Dinars Lugans, from Lincoln, pleaded guilty to retaining whelk under the minimum landing size at Douglas courthouse on Tuesday. Mr Lugans has also had his Isle of Man fishing licence suspended and had to forfeit his catch valued at £3,500. His vessel Prosperity was boarded in Manx waters by government fishery officers on 11 December.
The court heard 93 bags of whelk were found and, in a selected sample, almost two-thirds were under the legal landing size of 75mm or three inches. Environment minister Geoffrey Boot said: “The prosecution reinforces our zero tolerance approach to illegal fishing.”
The minimum landing size is intended to ensure whelk are able to breed successfully, said a Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) spokesperson. Under the Fisheries Act 2012, a fisherman found to have breached the regulations is liable to a fine of up to £100,000, forfeiture of catch, boat and or gear.
Mr Lugans has also had his Isle of Man sea fishing licence suspended which means he cannot fish in Manx waters for three months.