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Fishing company will be sentenced for catching undersized whelks

19.5% of catch checked by DEFA officers was too small

A fishing company from Lancashire will be sentenced later this month after admitting catching more than 4,000 undersized whelks.

B and M Fishing Llp, based in Fleetwood, entered a guilty plea to the offence - via their advocate - at Douglas Courthouse.

Fisheries officers from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture boarded the company’s vessel – Julie Ann – whilst it was fishing near the Point of Ayre on 22 November.

They found 43 sacks containing 21,513 whelks – 4,188 of these were deemed to be undersized which equated to 19.5 per cent of the catch.

In interview the company said the master had accepted responsibility for the failings adding that the crew had been rushing the riddling process.

The company’s advocate added that the weather had been bad and the catch hadn’t been checked twice like normal.

The court heard the skipper had been convicted of an identical offence, on a different boat, in 2018; he was fined £35,000 which the company paid.

“Unfortunately this individual has cost the company dear,” the advocate added: “Clearly the company is extremely disappointed.”

Financial information from B and M Fishing Llp has been sought before sentencing takes place on 13 June.

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