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Thread: Pelagic skippers pay heavy fines over "black fish"

  1. #21
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-18803266

    Shetland Catch has 1.5m seized over black fish scam

    A firm at the centre of the UK's biggest black fish scam has been ordered to pay back 1.5m in profits.

    Shetland Catch had earlier admitted processing thousands of tonnes of illegally landed mackerel and herring.

    The fish landings were estimated to be worth more than 47m. The company was accused of being involved in a web of deceit motivated by greed.

    At the High Court in Edinburgh, Shetland Catch, based in Lerwick, was also fined 150,000.

    Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC said: "Shetland Catch Ltd sought to make huge financial gain with total disregard for the law.

    "They knowingly assisted vessel skippers to under declare their fish landings and were involved in a web of deceit with their sole motivation being greed."

    Det Supt Gordon Gibson, of Grampian Police, said he hoped the confiscation order would send a "very clear and lasting message that this will not be tolerated by the courts and society in general."

    Marine Scotland said there had been an unprecedented scale of illegal activity and deception involved.

    Head of compliance Cephas Ralph said: "Shetland Catch Ltd developed sophisticated techniques with the sole purpose of concealing the true level of landings from our officers; therefore it is right that those involved face the consequences of their actions."

  2. #22
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-18952384

    Fishermen told to pay back 900,000 for black fish landings

    Four fishing boat skippers from the north east of Scotland have been ordered to hand back a total of more than 900,000 from illegal landings.

    The men had already admitted their part in the so-called black fishing scam.

    Ernest Simpson, 65, and Allan Simpson, 43, both of Fraserburgh, were ordered to hand over more than 360,000 each.

    John Smith, 37, of Inverugie, will have 150,000 confiscated, and James Smith, 53, of Rathen, must pay back 30,000.

    The confiscation orders are the latest in a series made against skippers and processors involved in the illegal landings.

  3. #23
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-18952384

    Fishermen told to pay 1.2m for black fish landings

    A total of 10 fishing skippers have been ordered to pay almost 1.2m, after admitting their involvement in a so-called black fish operation.

    The group previously pled guilty to the illegal landing of undeclared catches at two processors, Fresh Catch and Alexander Buchan.

    At the High Court in Edinburgh, they were were given fines and confiscation orders totalling 1,194,447.

    The offences were committed between 2002 and 2005.

    Following the court hearing, prosecutors said the skippers had used devious methods to try to evade fishing quota restrictions in the scam - said to be worth about 23m - with no respect for the consequences.

    Those dealt with in court were:

    John Smith, 37, the Alert: confiscation order of 150,000 and fine of 40,000.

    James Smith, 54, the Alert: confiscation order of 30,000 and fine of 10,000.

    Allan Simpson, 43, the Christina S: confiscation order of 361,621.

    Ernest Simpson, 65, the Christina S: confiscation order of 362,826.

    Ian Buchan, 55, the Quantus: fine of 100,000.

    James Duthie, 55, the Sunbeam: fine of 35,000.

    Oswald McRonald, 64, the Quantus: fine of 12,000.

    John MacLeod, 57, the Prowess and the Charisma: fine of 50,000.

    Michael MacLeod, 33, the Prowess: fine of 8,000.

    Stephen Bellany, 49, the Unity: fine of 35,000.

    Judge Lord Turnbull said he took into account that, in each case, no attempt was made to disguise the actual income acquired and tax was paid.

    He also noted the fishermen regretted their involvement and the embarrassment brought to them and their families.

    Lindsey Miller, head of the Crown Office serious and organised crime division, said: "These individuals used incredibly complex and devious methods to under declare their fish landings.

    "They had no regard for the law or for the consequences such large scale overfishing would have on fish stocks, the environment or the hard working fishermen trying to make an honest living in the industry."

    Grampian Police Det Supt Gordon Gibson, who led the police investigation into the case, added: "This is another example of individuals amassing huge sums of money by their serious and organised criminal acts.

    "Make no mistake - these men made a conscious decision to commit these crimes and to continue to do so over a protracted period."

    Allan and Ernest Simpson will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh in September, while proceedings against Fresh Catch have also been continued until that time.

    Six of the fishermen who were fined have already been handed confiscation orders of more than 1.3m million between them.

    Earlier this month, Shetland Catch was hit with a 1.5m confiscation order and fined 150,000, after the Lerwick company admitted assisting vessel skippers in making undeclared landings.

    The convictions were the result of a seven-year investigation, Operation Trawler, launched to investigate suspicious about the widespread illegal landing of fish within the pelagic fleet.

  4. #24
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-19489648

    Fraserburgh 'black fish' father and son Ernest and Allan Simpson fined 130,000

    A father and son from Fraserburgh have each been fined 65,000 after admitting their involvement in a so-called black fish operation.

    Fishermen Ernest Simpson, 65, and Allan Simpson, 43, of the Christina S, were involved in illegal landings worth millions of pounds.

    They had already received confiscation orders of more than 350,000 each.

    At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Turnbull said it was a "calculated determination" to avoid quotas.

    The judge said those who flouted quotas had brought shame on the fishing industry.

  5. #25
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-20694381

    Fines of 155,000 handed out to skippers over black fish

    Four fishing skippers have been fined 155,000 over false declarations of landings, bringing fines in the long-running case to nearly 1.75m.

    Andrew Tait, Robert Tait and Peter Tait were each fined 40,000, and William Tait was fined 35,000, at the High Court in Edinburgh.

    At an earlier hearing they were the subject of confiscation orders totalling 721,562.

    Fresh Catch from Peterhead was fined 160,000.

    This was for assisting other vessel skippers in making undeclared landings.

    The company was earlier the subject of a confiscation order for 500,000.
    'Absolutely staggering'

    Grampian Police Det Supt Gordon Gibson said: "The guilty pleas of these four men for landing undeclared fish and the similar plea of Fresh Catch Ltd for processing huge volumes of such fish now brings an end to the Operation Trawler investigation.

    "On top of the sizeable fines of 315,000 handed out today to these men and this company, they now also have been forced to pay back over 1.2m under the proceeds of crime legislation.

    "Having led this investigation for over fours years now, it has been extremely complex and is a prime example of how various agencies working closely together have been highly successful in bringing no less than 31 individuals and three large companies to justice.

    "Fines totalling nearly 1.75m have been handed out by the courts and over 8.1m has been seized under the proceeds of crime over the course of this investigation.

    "The greed shown by these men and the respective companies has been absolutely staggering, at a level never seen before in the UK and that should not be forgotten."

  6. #26
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls....5million.html

    Vessel skippers and fish processing plant ordered to pay more than 1.5million




    At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, December 12, four vessel skippers, who had previously pled guilty to offences of making false declarations of fish landed, were fined 155,000.

    The offences, in contravention of sea fishing legislation, relate to a number of illegal landings of mackerel and herring at Shetland Catch Ltd in Lerwick and Alexander Buchan Ltd in 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 allowed to their vessels.

    At an earlier hearing on 27 November they were the subject of confiscation orders totalling 721,562.

    Also at the same court Fresh Catch from Peterhead, which had previously pled guilty to assisting other vessel skippers in making undeclared landings, was fined 160,000.

    At the hearing on 27 November it was the subject of a confiscation order for 500,000

    The vessel skippers and the amounts of the confiscation orders and fines are as below:

    • Andrew Tait, aged 51, Master of the Chris Andra, Taits and Conquest, confiscation order of 210,700 and fine of 40,000

    • William Whyte Tait, 50, Master of the Conquest, Taits and Challenge, confiscation order 140,030 and fine of 35,000

    • Robert Tait, 46, Master of the Taits, Chris Andra and Conquest, confiscation order of 179,757 and fine of 40,000

    • Peter Tait, 45, Master of the Taits, Chris Andra, and Challenge, confiscation order of 191,075 and fine a 40,000


    Speaking after the court hearing, Lindsey Miller, Head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division, and POCA Champion said: “These cases conclude "Operation Trawler", the prosecutions that followed an extensive and complex investigation undertaken jointly by Grampian Police and Northern Constabulary under the direction of the Serious and Organised Crime Division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and with assistance from Marine Scotland.

    “These accused may not have been involved in drug dealing or prostitution but make no mistake that they were involved in significant and serious organised criminality.

    “In a clear example of successful working between the law enforcement agencies involved they have now been brought to justice and made to pay for their crimes.

    “These prosecutions should send a clear message that there is no place in Scotland for those who want a lifestyle funded by crime of any kind.

    “We will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies to make this an increasingly hostile place for those who seek to benefit from unlawful activity and confiscate their cash and assets so they can be put to good use for the decent law abiding people in communities across Scotland.”

    Detective Superintendent Gordon Gibson of Grampian Police, who led the police investigation, said: "The guilty pleas of these four men for landing undeclared fish and the similar plea of Fresh Catch Ltd for processing huge volumes of such fish now brings an end to the Operation Trawler investigation. On top of the sizeable fines of 315,000 handed out today to these men and this company, they now also have been forced to pay back over 1,200,000 under the proceeds of crime legislation.

    “Having led this investigation for over fours years now, it has been extremely complex and is a prime example of how various agencies working closely together have been highly successful in bringing no less than 31 individuals and 3 large companies to justice. Fines totalling nearly 1.75million have been handed out by the courts and over 8,100,000 has been seized under the proceeds of crime over the course of this investigation and bear testament to my view.

    “The greed shown by these men and the respective companies has been absolutely staggering, at a level never seen before in the UK and that should not be forgotten."

    Cephas Ralph, Head of Compliance at Marine Scotland said: “These decisions mark the end of a hugely complex seven year inquiry to uncover and bring to court the shameful and illegal activities of some of the most privileged individuals in the Scottish fishing industry.

    “I would like to thank police colleagues and Marine Scotland staff for their tenacity and professionalism in bringing this series of prosecutions through to a conclusion.”

  7. #27
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    Every single one of the skippers/owners should have their vessels confiscated.
    The size of the fines doesn't match the value of the fish landed and god only knows what they have got away with in previous years.
    All you hear is the usual "we want sustainable fishing" tripe time after time then landing 1000's of tonnes back door,all they are in it for is short term big gain,not a sustainable fishery for the future,the lot of them should hang their heads in shame,they are a disgrace to the industry.

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