QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE MACKAY
|SOUTH WALES SEA FISHERIES COMMITTEE||(CLAIMANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
THE DEFENDANT APPEARED IN PERSON
Crown Copyright ©
Thursday, 27th November 2003
"1. On 19th July 2002 near Old Castle Head, Manorbier, Tenby... you... used in a manner constituting a contravention of South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee byelaw "maximum vessel size" in that the vessel capacity units as defined for the said vessel were greater than the prescribed limit, an offence under section 11(2) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966.
"2. [On the same day and in the same place] you... used in a manner constituting a contravention of South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee byelaw "Boat Fishing (catch returns) permit" in that no permit for the said vessel had been issued to the owner, an offence under section 11(2) of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966."
"The vessel "Admiral Blake" is a beam trawler. The vessel... was oversized for operating within the Sea Fisheries Committee Area. The vessel...was operating in the area of Old Castle Head... The "Admiral Blake" was witnessed by South Wales Sea Fisheries officers with its nets in the water within the six mile limit. The nets... had captured rocks and sand. Skipper Malcolm Saunders ordered the "Admiral Blake" to enter the 6 mile limit. The... "Admiral Blake" deliberately went into the 6 mile limit for the specific purpose of breaking open his nets on rocks and pinnacles on the seabed, a safety operation. That the nets were broken open to release both the debris, rocks et cetera as well as fish back into the deep... The nets were then hauled aboard the "Admiral Blake" for the purposes of releasing cod ends [that term relates to a part of the net rather than parts of fish]. Within the six mile limit the nets were lowered again in an open state into the water to stream them of sand and other debris remaining in the nets".
"1. That at no material stage while the "Admiral Blake" was within the six mile area of the South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee was any fishing undertaken.
"2. That causing the nets of the vessel to be in the water for the purposes of a safety operation of clearing them of debris, or streaming them, does not constitute fishing".
Accordingly they acquitted both defendants.
"Whether a person is engaged in a fishing operation or using a method of fishing when he comes within a Sea Fisheries District in order to break his nets and release debris, rocks and fish back into the sea or whether he has ceased to engage in a fishing operation or to use a method of fishing at the point that he decides he needs to break his nets to release the contents into the sea, within the meaning of Byelaws 38 and 41 of the South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee Byelaws."
"(a) for restricting or prohibiting, either absolutely or subject to any exceptions and regulations, the fishing for or taking of all or any specified kinds of sea fish during any period specified in the byelaw;
(b) for restricting or prohibiting, either absolutely or subject to such regulations as may be provided by the byelaws, any method of fishing for sea fish or the use of any instrument of fishing for sea fish and for determining the size of mesh, form and dimensions of any instrument of fishing for sea fish."
38. "No person shall use any method of fishing for sea fish or use any instrument of fishing for sea fish from or in conjunction with a vessel which has a capacity greater than 150 units."
41. "No person shall use, cause or permit or assist any other person to use a mechanically powered boat in any fishing operation in any part of the South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee District except under a permit issued to the owner of the boat by the Committee and signed by the Director and in accordance with the [stated conditions]..."
"Where any vessel is used for fishing in any manner constituting a contravention of any byelaw of a local fisheries committee having effect by virtue of section 5(1)(a) or (b) above, the skipper and the owner of the vessel shall, subject to subsection (3) below, each be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding [level 5 on the standard scale]."
"In this particular case, that case is pertinent. The reasoning is pertinent and I propose to follow it. The statute is different; the principle is the same. Had fishing been completed at the time when this offence is alleged to have been committed? I think the plain answer is no, that while the fish had been contained in the seine and to that extent all fish that were intending to be caught had been caught, the act of fishing had not been completed at the particular time... At the time the defendant was still fishing for sea fish even though at the material time the act of enclosing the fish within the seine net had been completed."