Fishermen in court after being seen throwing their catch away

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TWO fishermen have been fined after admitting that they prevented a fisheries officer from boarding their ship and inspecting their catch.

Pat Simmons, 57, of Church Road, Landport, and Mark Gray, 36, of Portsmouth pleaded guilty to the charge.

The court heard that on Tuesday, December 8 Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority officers saw their vessel Prosperity dredging for shellfish in Portsmouth Harbour and went to The Camber to carry out an inspection.

The officers gave the master of the vessel Simmons a direction to stop what he was doing and come alongside.

Crewman Gray immediately started to throw the catch overboard.

Officers watched as Mr Simmons steered the vessel away from the quayside, with Gray throwing four yellow sacks from the front of the vessel and then swiftly heading to the stern to throw a further two yellow sacks and a basket of shellfish overboard despite being given numerous directions by Fisheries Officers not to do so.

When the vessel eventually came alongside and was inspected there was no catch remaining.

IFCA deputy chief officer Ian Jones said: ‘Fisheries regulations are an essential management tool that include minimum landing sizes that protect juvenile stock.’

Simmons was ordered to pay £2,100 in fines and costs and Gray was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £55 costs.

Any information relating to illegal fishing activity can be reported to the authority in

confidence on 01202 721373