Fleetwood Fish Seller Fined

John Ward Agency (Fleetwood) Limited has been fined £2,365 following a guilty plea for fisheries offences at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

The Marine Management Organisation began investigations after receiving information on 18 September 2016. The MMO discovered that John Ward Agency (Fleetwood) had failed to submit 100 sales notes relating to sales of fish from various under 10 metre vessels. On 24 November 2015, a joint inspection by MMO Marine Enforcement Officers and North West Inshore Fisheries Conservation Officers found the merchant had offered 47 undersized plaice for sale.

The court ordered that John Ward Agency (Fleetwood) Limited pay a £1,200 fine (reduced from £1,800 due to an early guilty plea), £1,045 in investigation costs and a £120 Victim Surcharge.

A spokesman for the MMO said:

“Whilst the court recognised that the non-submission of sales notes was a genuine error by John Ward Agency (Fleetwood) Limited and a product of a bad administrative process, the number of sales notes and the quantities of fish therein was significant. The court acknowledged it was vital that the MMO had a clear and accurate picture of the quantities of sea fish being landed and sold.

Hopefully this case emphasises the importance of accurate record keeping and the timely submission of sales notes by registered sellers of fish. It was a particularly positive aspect of the case that we were able to work closely with North West IFCA, which led to the detection of the undersized plaice which was being offered for sale.

The MMO will always look for opportunities to work with partner agencies to ensure the regulations relating to sustainable sea fisheries are adhered to.”

A link to the full press release can be found on the MMO website here.