Essex: Fisherman in court for breaching quotas

THREE Essex fishermen accused of exceeding their quotas have appeared in court.

Terry Stimpson, Daniel Swallow and James Craig could face fines totalling more than half a million pounds if found guilty of the charges against them.

The trio appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of breaching the conditions of their fishing licences.

Swallow, 25, of Charleston Court, West Mersea, faces seven separate charges, spanning from February to October 2011, for exceeding monthly skate and ray quotas and for fishing during closed periods while 19-year-old Craig, of Woodstock, West Mersea, is charged with breaching skate quotas in April last year.

Stimpson, 51, of Tudor Green, Clacton, who is thought to be the last remaining fisherman in Brightlingsea, is accused of three counts of breaching cod and skate quotas and one of failing to submit an EU log book and a landing declaration. His offences span from February to May.

Each of the charges carries a maximum fine of �50,000.

None of the men entered pleas and the cases were adjourned until April.

Most Read

James Hartley, the solicitor representing the Marine Maritime Organisation, which is bringing the prosecution, told the court: “Fishing boats are prohibited unless they have a licence. Magistrates have the power to impose conditions on licences and part of that are quotas.

It is alleged that Stimpson exceeded his quota in relation to cod and skate in three months.

Mr Hartley claimed: “He has landed 3,007kg of cod in February when his quota only allows 1,000kg.”

At the weekend, North East Essex MP Bernard Jenkin called for a radical overhaul in UK fishing policy to protect the industry.

He is proposing a trust be set up for local fishermen which would build up a quota to allocate annually to small fishing boats, which he says are in danger of going out of business.

All three men will appear at Colchester’s new magistrates court building at St Botolph’s Circus on April 11.