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  1. #11
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...8_MILLION.html

    FOUR PLEAD GUILTY TO OVER-FISHING WORTH OVER 8 MILLION

    At the High Court in Edinburgh today, four fishermen pled guilty to offences of making false declarations regarding over 8 million of fish that they landed.

    The offences, in contravention of sea fishing legislation, relate to a number of illegal landings of mackerel and herring at Peterhead between 2002 and 2005, in respect of which the vessel skippers falsely declared the quantity of fish they landed as a means of evading the annual fishing quota allocated to their vessel.

    The four accused, their vessels, and the amounts for their undeclared catches are:

    • JAMES DUTHIE- born 24 April 1957- master of the Sunbeam- 56 landings worth 1,936,546.13
    • IAN BUCHAN- born 13/3/57- master of the Quantus- 49 landings worth 4,495,568;
    • JOHN MACLEOD- born 27/2/55- master of the Charisma CY88 and the Prowess CY720- 43 landings worth 1,159,761.70;
    • MICHAEL MACLEOD- born 4/11/78- master of the Charisma CY88- 34 landings worth 907,840.50


    The landings were made at a fish factory in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

    Speaking after the court hearing, Lindsey Miller, Head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division, said:

    “This prosecution of these individuals follows the conviction of seventeen other individuals and two limited companies which operated fish factories, in 2010 and 2011 for similar offences, and is part of an extensive and complex investigation which is continuing into other fish landings.

    “The successful prosecution of these additional accused is a further example of effective joint working between Grampian Police and Northern Constabulary, the Serious and Organised Crime Division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and Marine Scotland. We will continue working with police and other agencies to prosecute those individuals or organisations who flout the law for their personal gain.”

    Detective Superintendent Gordon Gibson of Grampian Police, who led this investigation, said:

    "The pleas tendered today are another positive example of the hard work, dedication and partnership approach by all involved in this investigation."

    Cephas Ralph, Head of Compliance at Marine Scotland said:

    ”Marine Scotland is determined to secure a sustainable future for the sea fishing industry and the coastal communities they support. Illegal fishing is a crime committed against the marine environment and the many honest fishermen who abide by the regulations and fish responsibly."

  2. #12

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    Agree with you there gde. Thats another 8 million on to the 47.5 million that went into thier hip pockets, and more prosecutions to come. Under the proceeds of crime act, every penny should be taken from them. These figures are just for 3-4 years, it must be a colossal amount of money, if all illegal pelagic landings were taken into consideration in the last 15-20 years.

  3. #13
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-16680222

    Black fish skipper was 'helping' Shetland community

    A Shetland skipper who illegally landed fish has claimed he was supporting his local community.

    David Hutchison is one of 17 skippers due at the High Court in Edinburgh over a black fish scam worth millions.

    Defence counsel Murdo Macleod said higher prices were being paid in Norway and Denmark, making landing in Shetland less attractive.

    He said: "The only way to land in Shetland was to land larger quantities of fish."

    Prosecutors have already started seizing illegal profits, paving the way for judge Lord Turnbull to sentence the men, including 66-year-old Hutchison.

    Mr Macleod told the court that the illegal landings were industry-wide, but that Hutchison regretted the part he had played.

    He said those involved in this week's hearings landed their herring and mackerel at processing plant Shetland Catch Ltd.

    The hearings continue.

  4. #14
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    http://local.stv.tv/fraserburgh/news...ated-by-greed/

    Judge: 'Black fish' skippers were motivated by greed

    Hamish Slater and Victor Buschini did not declare mackerel and herring worth more than 7m.

    Skippers involved in a multi-million pound "black fish" scam were motivated by greed, a judge has suggested.

    Seventeen fishing bosses are facing heavy fines after they admitted landing catches of mackerel and herring which were far in excess of EU quotas.

    Prosecutors have already claimed back nearly 3m by confiscating illegal profits, paving the way for judge Lord Turnbull to levy further financial penalties for lying about the size of catches.

    Skippers are appearing at the High Court in Edinburgh through the week to make pleas for leniency before a decision is made on how much they will pay out.

    Hamish Slater, 53, of Fraserburgh, and Victor Buschini, 51, of Lancashire have taken their turn to appear at court on Tuesday.

    Their haul of "black fish", on the Fraserburgh-registered Enterprise, was valued at 7.2m between January 2002 and March 2005.

    The judge, Lord Turnbull, questioned the need for Buschini, who earns around 160,000 a year, to break the law to earn more money.

    He said: "It doesn't seem that far from other criminal conduct. I am not suggesting it is as morally reprehensible as all that but, when it comes to it, is it not just greed?"

    Defence QC Gordon Jackson replied: "Every penny has been paid back. They shot themselves in the foot.

    "They have ended up a lot worse off than had they not done it in the first place.

    "They have come out of it very badly at the end of the day."

    Solicitor advocate Brian Fitzpatrick, defending Slater, said the skippers had suffered because their catches were restricted at a time when prices were soaring.

    Mackerel had gone from 400 a tonne in 2005 to an all time high of 1100 a tonne, the court heard.

    He said there was also resentment in the industry because Iceland and the Faroe Islands - operating outside EU rules - had massively increased their landings - by 6500% in the case of Iceland.

    "If everyone stuck to international agreements there would be no threat to fish stocks," he said.

    Mr Fitzpatrick said the combination of his share of the catch and the profits from the company which owned the Enterprise has given Slater earnings of 320,000 in 2010.

    All the skippers involved in the nearly-50m black fish scam, committed between 2002 and 2005, landed their catch at Lerwick-based Shetland Catch Limited.

    The court has heard that officials of the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency monitored catch sizes on computer screens which had been altered to show lower weights.

    The true size of the landings of mackerel and herring were shown in an engineer's room where the officials did not go.

  5. #15
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-16727880

    Black fish case: Skipper found throwing fish back 'repugnant'

    A Shetland fishing skipper got involved in a major black fish scam as he could not bear to throw dead fish back, it has been claimed.

    Fishermen have been appearing at the High Court in Edinburgh this week over the illegal landings worth tens of millions of pounds.

    George Anderson, 55, found ditching under-sized herring and mackerel "repugnant", the court heard.

    Judge Lord Turnbull is expected to sentence the fishermen in February.

    The 17 fishermen are facing heavy fines for breaching European Union quotas at the Lerwick-based processing plant Shetland Catch Ltd.
    Deep regret

    Anderson's defence counsel Mark Moir said of dumping fish: "Anderson found this a repugnant activity and didn't do so.

    "As a result of that, what he found himself doing was arriving back at dock with excess fish he had caught.

    "I do not suggest that lessens the seriousness of what Anderson has done or in any way say that exculpates him."

    He described Anderson as a respected member of the fishing community who deeply regretted becoming involved.

  6. #16
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-17153085

    Skippers and firm fined almost 1m for part in 63m 'black fish' scam

    Seventeen Scottish skippers and a processing firm have received fines totalling almost 1m for their part in the UK's biggest fraud involving illegal catches of fish.

    The men had admitted they were able to sell vast quantities of mackerel and herring by evading EU quotas.

    Three firms, one in Shetland and two in Peterhead, were involved in the black fish fraud, worth almost 63m.

    Judge Lord Turnbull said the scam was "an episode of shame" for the industry.

    During hearings at the High Court in Glasgow, six more skippers also admitted their part in the illegal fish landing.

    Stephen Bellamy, 49, from Fraserburgh, John Smith, 36, and James Smith 54, both from Peterhead, Ernest Simpson, 64, Allan Simpson, 42, both from Fraserburgh and Oswald McRonald, 63, from Banff, are due to be sentenced in May, along with four others.

    One of the processing companies, Alexander Buchan Limited, which operated a factory in the Aberdeenshire fishing town of Peterhead, was fined 240,000.

    A second Peterhead processing plant, Fresh Catch, admitted landing 10.5m of illegal fish. Shetland Catch has already pleaded guilty to landing 47.5m of black fish. Both companies have still to be sentenced.
    Scales rigged

    The convictions came as the result of a seven-year investigation, Operation Trawler, after the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA), now Marine Scotland, became suspicious about widespread illegal landing of fish within the pelagic fleet.

    The 17 fishermen sentenced on Friday illegally landed mackerel and herring at the Shetland Catch factory in Lerwick over a three year period, between January 2002 and March 2005.

    They offloaded thousands of tonnes of fish, much more than they were allowed under European rules to protect stocks.

    The court has heard how logbooks were falsified and digital weighing scales at the factory were rigged to underestimate the weight of the fish being landed.
    Continue reading the main story
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    Those who were already making a good living saw this as a way more income could be generated and were prepared to participate in deliberate lies and falsehoods."”

    Judge Lord Turnbull

    In Peterhead, at the Fresh Catch factory, fish was pumped ashore through underground pipes.

    Fisheries officers and police raided the factories in 2005 after an investigation into the companies' accounts.

    Sentencing the 17 skippers, judge Lord Turnbull said the scam was a "cynical and sophisticated" operation which had the "connivance of a number of different interested parties".

    He described the men as normally law-abiding, but said the proceedings brought "embarrassment and shame" to them and their families.

    He said: "No-one for example appears to have engaged in this exercise on account of struggling to cope financially with the costs of continued fishing within the quota levels allocated.

    "Indeed, in contrast to some within the fishing industry, those engaged in fishing with the pelagic fleet appear to have been able to make very substantial sums over many years, providing very comfortable livings for themselves and their families."

    He added: "The motivation was purely financial. Those who were already making a good living saw this as a way more income could be generated and were prepared to participate in deliberate lies and falsehoods."

    Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead welcomed the fines imposed on the skippers and company.

    He said: "There is no doubt that these illegal activities are a stark and shameful reminder of the culture that existed in some sectors of the fishing industry in past years but they do not reflect the much improved culture we see today."
    Men fined

    Hamish Slater, 53, and Alexander Masson, 66, both from Fraserburgh, were fined 80,000 and 50,000 respectively, while Alexander Wiseman, 60, from Banff, was also fined 50,000.

    Another 13 men from Shetland were fined for their role in the scam.

    Robert Polson, 48, was fined 70,000; John Irvine, 68, was fined 80,000; William Williamson, 65, was fined 45,000; Laurence Irvine, 66, was fined 80,000; and both David Hutchison, 66, and 56-year-old Thomas Eunson were fined 40,000.

    Allister Irvine, 63, and Gary Williamson, 52, were both fined 35,000; John Stewart, 57, was ordered to pay 15,000; and both George Henry, 60, and George Anderson, 56, must pay 12,000.

    Colin Leask, 39, and Allen Anderson, 55, were each fined 3,000.

    A 70,000 fine was imposed on Victor Buchini, 51, from Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire.

    The seventeen men have already been forced to pay back almost 3m in profits they made from the scam.

  7. #17
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...y_courts..html

    Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochhead comments on verdict reached by courts.

    In the High Court today, Friday, 17 Scottish skippers and one processing plant were sentenced for involvement in illegal pelagic (mackerel and herring) fish landings between 2002 and 2005.

    Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has welcomed the penalties handed down today on what he regards as a ‘shameful reminder” of the culture that once existed in some sectors of our fishing industry. Mr Lochhead also said that of all countries in Europe these prosecutions illustrate just how seriously Scotland views illegal behaviour at sea.

    Mr Lochhead said: “I welcome the verdicts reached today and pay tribute to the police and officers of Marine Scotland for their efforts in what has been a long and vastly complicated enquiry, ensuring that there is no hiding place for such appalling behaviour.

    “These cases demonstrate Scotland’s commitment to transparent, sustainable fishing in our waters backed up with effective enforcement. It is important that all countries in Europe do what we have done in Scotland by stamping out such illegal activity.

    “There is no doubt that these illegal activities are a stark and shameful reminder of the culture that existed in some sectors of the fishing industry in past years but they do not reflect the much improved culture we see today.

    “The offences date back up to a decade ago and, thankfully, there has been seismic change in the attitude and behaviour of the fishing fleet, which can only be good thing in securing a viable future for the industry in Scotland.

    “The judicial process has resulted in the fines applied today, while funds have also been recovered through Proceeds of Crime. In addition, annual cuts in quota for all vessels involved have been applied in recent years so that fish caught in excess of quotas are taken back.

    “There have been significant advances in recent years in how fish landings are monitored and controlled, including comprehensive audits and certified weighing systems.”

  8. #18
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-17487739

    Confiscation orders for two Peterhead skippers over 'black fish'

    Two fishermen who admitted landing undeclared fish in Peterhead have received confiscation orders totalling 177,000.

    John MacLeod, 57, was told to hand over 150,000, with Michael MacLeod, 33, facing a 27,000 order at the High Court in Glasgow.

    Sentence on the pair was deferred to 18 May at the High Court in Edinburgh.

    Confiscation proceedings against two further vessel skippers, James Duthie, 54, and Ian Buchan, 55, were continued.

  9. #19
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-18117453

    Black fish scam: 1.1m confiscation orders for Peterhead fishermen

    Four fishermen who admitted their part in a major black fish scam in Peterhead have been hit with confiscation orders totalling more than 1.1m.

    Ian Buchan, 55, master of the Quantas trawler, faced the largest order, being told to pay 1m.

    There were also orders of 99,000 for 55-year-old James Duthie; 64,612 for 49-year-old Stephen Bellany; and 23,669 for Oswald McRonald, 64.

    They had previously pled guilty to landing undeclared fish.

    The offences happened at Fresh Catch Ltd and Alexander Buchan Ltd between 2002 and 2005.
    'Staggering amounts'

    Following the hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh, Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC said: "Serious and organised crime can take many forms and these individuals were involved in significant organised criminality.

    "They put their own financial gain first and sought to obtain staggering amounts of money with blatant disregard for the impact such large-scale overfishing would have.

    "Our message is very clear that there is no place in Scotland for those who want a lifestyle funded by crime."

    The men are due to be sentenced on 16 July.

  10. #20
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-18444118

    Black fish: Four fishermen admit 6.5m Lerwick and Peterhead scam

    Four fishermen have admitted that they failed to declare landings worth 6.5m as part of a major black fish scam.

    The fish were handled by Shetland Catch Ltd in Lerwick and Alexander Buchan Ltd in Peterhead between 2002 and 2006.

    The four men - Andrew Tait, 50; William Tait, 50; Robert Tait, 45; and 44-year-old Peter Tait - made undeclared landings of more than 1.5m each.

    At the High Court in Edinburgh, sentence was deferred until 6 September.
    'Highly organised'

    Det Supt Gordon Gibson, of Grampian Police, who led the investigation, said: "These four men were an organised crime group who committed crimes for huge financial gain over a prolonged period.

    "They were highly organised and clearly knew what they were doing and that this was wrong however they chose to put their own greed ahead of the law.

    "I hope by their appearance in court today this demonstrates to them, and others who may ponder similar conduct, that it was and will not be tolerated."

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