Court Outcome - Poole Fishermen Plead Guilty
On Wednesday 29th November 2023 at Poole Magistrates Court, Poole fishermen Andrew Skinner & Reginald Skinner, pleaded guilty to taking a quantity of undersized cockles from Poole Harbour, contrary to prohibition (4) of the Fishing for Cockles Byelaw of the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Southern IFCA) and section 163 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Charges were laid by the Southern IFCA and both fishermen were ordered to pay costs and fines totalling £6,456.00.
The court heard how during the morning of Tuesday 13th June 2023, Andrew Skinner was inspected by officers at Fisherman’s Dock, Poole Quay. Mr. Skinner was in possession of 7 bags of cockles and 7 bags of manila clams, which he confirmed had been caught using the fishing vessel Lula Bon PE892 in Poole Harbour. Lula Bon is jointly owned by Andrew Skinner and his father Reginald Skinner.
An inspection of the catch followed. Officers found that the manila clams landed by Mr. Skinner were mainly compliant with the minimum conservation reference size of 35mm. However, based on samples removed for measuring, 33.86% of the cockles were undersized; passing through a gauge having a square opening measuring 23.8mm along each side. The total weight of all shellfish landed by Mr. Skinner was approximately 390kg.
As joint owners of the vessel both Andrew Skinner and Reginald Skinner were liable for the breach of regulations. Each were fined £1200.00 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,548.00 and a surcharge of £480.00.
When asked to comment, Deputy Chief Officer Sam Dell said, “This case sends a clear message that failing to comply with the Authority’s regulations will not be tolerated. The Southern IFCA is committed to the protection of our fish stocks and coastal fisheries, ensuring healthy seas and a viable industry. By taking offenders to court we aim to support a sustainable local fishery.