Navy net fisherman who fiddled his books

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A ROYAL Navy patrol ship caught and fined a fisherman who under-recorded his catch.

Portsmouth-based Fishery Protection Vessel HMS Mersey was operating 200 miles off Cornwall in the Atlantic when she inspected the fishing vessel over a six-hour operation and found the books mis-represented how much hake had been caught.

The Irish-owned, Spanish-operated stern trawler was issued a £2,000 on-the-spot fine with statements forwarded to the government’s Marine Management Organisation for further investigation.

Mersey’s executive officer, Robert Lamb, said over-fishing was a ‘serious problem’.

He added: ‘The fish stocks within British waters are a vital natural resource every bit as important as our forests, oil and mineral wealth and it is essential that we manage the fisheries industry to ensure their efforts are sustainable – guaranteeing a future not just for the fish species but also for the fishery.’

Mersey has sailed 4,000 miles in UK waters this year policing the fisheries.