March 2017: Successful prosecution of scalloping vessel

On Friday 3 March 2017, at Bodmin Magistrates Court, Cornwall IFCA successfully prosecuted the skipper and owner of the fishing vessel Rejoice BH220 for one offence of fishing contrary to the  Scallop Dredge (Limited Fishing Time) Byelaw.  The skipper, Carl Brian Snell (31) of Belfield Road, Paignton represented himself at court where he pleaded not guilty to the charge. The owner, V J Glover Limited of Bampton Devon, had pleaded guilty in December 2016 at the first opportunity. Magistrates found both the defendants guilty and described Mr Snell’s reasons for being found, with his dredges in the water at a time when this is prohibited as “entirely implausible”. They handed down fines and costs totalling £11,948. The skipper did not return to court after the recess for consideration of his sentence and therefore was sentenced in his absence.
 
On the 11 of August 2016 at 19:50 hours the scallop dredger Rejoice BH220, owned by V J Glover Limited and skippered by Mr Carl Brian Snell, was suspected of dredging for scallops in the Cornwall IFCA district at a prohibited time of day.  A boarding team was launched form the Cornwall IFCA patrol vessel Saint Piran to intercept the Rejoice, approximately 5 nautical miles south east of Dodman Point. When the team approached they could see the vessel had its dredges in the water, and a large quantity of scallops was found on-board. When asked as to why he was found with his dredges in the water inside the district at a time when this is prohibited the skipper claimed that he was having engine problems and had needed to complete an oil change, and that he couldn’t raise his dredges without power. When asked, under caution, where the waste oil and filters were, MR Snell claimed to have dumped them overboard, however he couldn’t explain why there was no sign of any waste oil either in the water, or on board his vessel.  It was this story of engine failure that the magistrates found to be “entirely implausible”.
 
It is an offence to fish for scallops between 19:00hrs and 07:00hrs in the Cornwall IFCA District under the Scallop Dredge (Limited Fishing Time) Bylaw, commonly known as the curfew hours byelaw. This bylaw is a conservation measure intended to limit effort on this valuable fishery. Scallops are an important target species for many fishermen working within the Cornwall IFCA district and there are many local, national and EU regulations for their conservation.
 
Mr Snell was aware of the legislation, having been previously boarded by Cornwall IFCA officers and presented with an information pack covering all the regulations for scallop fishing in the district. Under caution he confirmed that he knew that it was an offence to fish for scallops between 19:00hrs and 07:00hrs inside the district.
 
Cornwall IFCA Principal Enforcement Officer Simon Cadman said “Scallop dredging has for many years been the highest enforcement risk in the Cornwall IFCA district. Therefore we make considerable efforts to identify illegal activities, hoping that successful prosecutions such as this one will dissuade those looking to profit from breaking the rules. It is in everyone’s interests that scallop dredging is carried out sustainably and limiting dredging effort is an essential element to ensure this happens.” 
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