€5,000 fine for fisherman who exceeded quota
A South Wexford fisherman who pleaded guilty to 12 charges of carrying fish in excess of the quota has been fined €5000.
James Devlin, Ballyseskin, Kilmore Quay, had pleaded guilty before Judge Barry Hickson at an earlier sitting of Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.
Devlin, the skipper of the sea fishing boat, 'Jimmy', admitted that between September 24, 2013, and September 27, 2013, he had on board monkfish and flatfish called megrim in excess of the month's quota.
Prosecuting Counsel, Ms Sinead Gleeson, said the matter had been heard previously. She said the matter is now before the court for finalisation.
Fisheries Officer Ms Adrianne Patterson told the court that the details were taken from the logbook. The value of the fish returned was €27,822.93, while the value of the gear was €3,800.
Defence Counsel Dylan Redmond, said the over-the-quota portion of the cash amounted to €17,363. He said the defendant was not caught out trying to hide the fish but was caught through the logbook.
The fish is logged into a laptop and sent directly to head office. All of the fish was logged accurately prior to being sent to the factory. It was through his accurate logging that he now found himself in court.
Accounts technician Mrs. Ann Morris, who looked after the accounts of the defendant, outlined to the court the profit allocation of the cash which was 42% for crew and 58% to owners of boat.
The defendant, she said, is self employed. He was the skipper of the boat and not the owner.
Mr. Redmond said the defendant is a married man with five children. He was before the court because of his honesty. He is still fishing the same boat.
Judge Hickson said the laws of the land had to be obeyed. The defendant, he said, would never be in a position to pay the totality of the fines which, according to Ms Gleeson, would total €35,000.
Judge Hickson said he would impose a fine of €5,000 on one of the charges and take the remainder into consideration.
The defendant had €1,500 with him which was paid into the court. Judge Hickson ordered the balance to be paid by the April sessions of the court.
Ms Gleeson also said that an order can be made for the confiscation of the gear. Judge Hickson said that as he was skipper of the boat he would not make such an order.