Fisherman fined for failing to declare catch

On Wednesday 18 October 2017, at Truro Magistrates Court, Cornwall IFCA successfully prosecuted Mr Samuel Jago (50) of Market Street, Torpoint, the master and owner of the fishing vessel Bosloe (PH122) for failing to meet the conditions of a fishing permit, issued under a Cornwall IFCA byelaw.

Mr Jago had not submitted any monthly statistical returns for four months, despite concerted attempts by Cornwall IFCA to resolve the situation. Mr Jago pleaded guilty to four offences of failing to send in his figures, which resulted in Magistrates handing down a fine of £1700, a costs award to Cornwall IFCA of £2500 and a victim surcharge of £170.

“Crab and lobster fisheries off the coast of Cornwall are vitally important and must be carefully managed” said a statement from Cornwall IFCA after the sentence was passed. Part of this management involves a requirement for fishermen to submit monthly forms detailing their fishing effort (how much they fished) and details of what they caught. This information is vital for Cornwall IFCA to effectively monitor shellfish fisheries and will play an important part of the management of these fisheries.

“Cornwall IFCA makes every effort to work with its permit holders and help them to send in their returns on time. Text message reminders to fishermen and allowing electronic methods to complete and send in returns have recently been introduced to make it easier for fishermen.

The costs of chasing late returns are significant and court proceedings against a permit holder are the final option when they persistently refuse to provide the necessary important information” said IFCA

In the case of Mr Jago, Cornwall IFCA claimed officers made every effort to contact him by phone and in writing, but all were ignored, as were two invitations to explore the situation by interviewing him. Cornwall IFCA offered Mr Jago the opportunity to accept a caution for his offences, but when he failed to respond to that, it left Cornwall IFCA with no option but to prosecute.

Cornwall IFCA Principal Enforcement Officer Simon Cadman said “The sustainability of our crab and lobster fisheries are vitally important. For them to managed effectively, it is essential that fishermen provide the Authority with statutory monthly returns which show their fishing effort and the amount of shellfish being removed from inshore fisheries. Officers made every reasonable effort to remind Mr Jago to send in his monthly returns. Because Mr Jago refused to follow the permit condition and did not communicate with us, our only option was to prosecute him in Court. I hope the significant fine and costs imposed by the Court will show that failure to send in monthly returns and refusal to communicate with us is taken seriously and deter others from ending up in a similar situation.”

Cornwall IFCA manages the inshore fisheries around the Cornish coast out to the six nautical mile limit, including within rivers and estuaries up to their tidal limits.

There has been a shellfish permit system for crabs, lobsters and crawfish in place for over 30 years, requiring monthly returns.

Cornwall IFCA now provides monthly text message reminders to fishermen for their returns and will accept returns by post, or by the third party mobile app “Icatch”.