The court heard how on Thursday 16th December 2021 officers from the Southern IFCA attended the premises and carried out an inspection of the shellfish contained within. 317kg of manila clams were found stored within Viviers (UK) Ltd. A random sample of clams were inspected, of which an average of 12.4% measured below the Minimum Conservation Reference Size of 35mm (Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes ensure sustainable fish stocks by considering the maturity of a species and allowing time for reproduction before removal from the sea).
Officers returned to the premises for a follow-up inspection on Tuesday 21st December 2021, when they found 1000kg of manila clams stored within the premises. This time the percentage of undersized clams was much higher. Officers from the Southern IFCA individually measured 2250 manila clams, of which 1072 (47.6%) measured below the Minimum Conservation Reference Size. In addition, 38 undersized American Hard-Shelled clams were identified (The Minimum Conservation Reference Size for this type of clam is 63mm).
For the offence committed on 16th December 2021 the court issued Viviers (UK) Ltd. with a fine of £2000. In relation to the offences committed on 16th December 2021 - the company were fined £4000, for storing undersized manila clams, and £750 for undersized American Hard-Shelled clams. They were also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4006 and a victim surcharge of £190, making the total of all fines & costs £10,946.
When asked to comment, Deputy Chief Officer Sam Dell said, “Minimum size legislation is the principle management tool to protect clams and the purchasing of undersized shellfish undermines the purpose of such legislation and protection of juvenile stock. The Southern IFCA is committed to protecting our coastal fisheries, ensuring healthy seas and a viable fishing industry. This type of illegal activity puts other legitimate Merchants at a disadvantage; by pursuing these matters vigorously through court we aim to support legitimate operators and protect the local fisheries”.