£6,000 fine for Brixham skipper sparks Guernsey fishing warning to trawlermen
A £6,000 fine dished out to a Brixham trawler skipper has sparked a warning to the local fleet that fishing laws have changed in Guernsey.
Anthony Shine, the Brixham-registered skipper of the BM 112 trawler Becky Lou, was fined by Guernsey magistrates for illegally fishing within the Channel Island's waters.
The law requiring all UK-based trawlermen and scallopers to obtain a fishing licence for the Guernsey authority changed on February 1.
Trawler owner Neil Watson, who owns the Korenbloem and Amber J vessels, said he found out about the regulation changes because he has been fishing off the Channel Islands for years.
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He said: "It was a hefty fine, but the first person to get done was always going to take the brunt of it. The message is definitely out now. Anyone who didn't know that you need a licence to fish in Guernsey will now."
Mr Watson believes Mr Shine probably did not know about the change in law because he did not fish in the Channel Islands on a regular basis.
He said: "It was not publicised through the normal channels in UK waters. If it had been UK law there would have been an Marine Management Organisation variation and everyone in the industry would have known about it.
"But it is Guernsey law and it's different."
He said only about three trawler companies in the port had taken the licence because they regularly fish in Guernsey and knew about the changes.
Mr Watson said to obtain the licence, which allows fishermen to cast their nets within the Channel Islands' 12-mile waters, skippers and boat owners will need to prove their track record and will need to show they have been fishing over there between 2009 and 2012.
The Becky Lou was impounded by the Sea Fisheries vessel the Leopardess off the south coast of the island on Monday last week .
Mr Shine pleaded guilty to illegal fishing when he appeared before the local courts.
David Domaille, his defence counsel, told the courts the new licensing law was not well known among UK fishermen.
He said six other Brixham-based fishing companies he had approached were unaware of the need for a licence to fish in Guernsey waters.
Jason Moriarty, chief officer of commerce and employment for Guernsey, said the recent conviction would help the industry realise Guernsey's fishery laws are different and have changed.
He said: "It raises awareness of the legislation and fisheries within that 12-mile limit.
"Sea fisheries through commerce and employment have undertaken press releases through trade press and that process will continue.
"It is not about success it is just to show that the new legislation to protect the 12-mile limit is being upheld."
Guernsey magistrates told Mr Shine he could either spend three months in jail or pay the £6,000 fine.
When sentencing him, Judge Philip Robey warned that harsher penalties would be given out for similar offences in future.
Mr Watson said: "It looks like the Channel Islands' fishing authorities are not going to be messed about."