Newbiggin-by-the-Sea fisherman prosecuted for damaging conservation efforts with lobster catch

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A Newbiggin-by-the-Sea fisherman has been fined over £1,000 after breaching byelaws in place to protect Northumberland lobster fisheries.

Michael William Denton, a commercial fisherman, was seen on a recreational boat fishing on Friday, October 13 using more than the five lobster pots allowed by his recreational permit.

When he returned to shore his catch was inspected by the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA), which found he had landed 21 lobsters beneath the minimum conservation reference size and that three of them were egg-bearing.

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This was also more than the two lobsters that recreational fishermen are permitted to take in one day.

NIFCA's St Aidan patrol vessel. (Photo by NIFCA)NIFCA's St Aidan patrol vessel. (Photo by NIFCA)
NIFCA's St Aidan patrol vessel. (Photo by NIFCA)

Denton was charged with four offences in relation to the incident by the authority. He pleaded guilty to two of them and was found guilty of the other two at North Shields Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, October 19.

The court ordered him to pay a fine of £480, a victim surcharge of £192, and contribute £400 in costs.

Nick Weir, lead enforcement officer at NIFCA, said: “The authority is happy with the court’s findings and for the continued support it has demonstrated towards the work we do.

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“We would also like to thank the Environment Agency for its assistance during this investigation.

“Fishing for shellfish in Northumberland is vitally important to commercial fishers and a source of great enjoyment for responsible recreational fishers.

“Northumberland IFCA will vigorously pursue any person that deliberately harms the fishery or ignores byelaws that balance the social, environmental and economic needs of our stakeholders as we strive to promote healthy seas, sustainable fishing, and maintain a viable industry.”