Recreational Fisher Guilty of Multiple Byelaw Breaches

On the 19th of October 2023 at North Shields Magistrates Court, Mr Michael William Denton of Newbiggin by the Sea, was found guilty of two offences and pled guilty to a further two offences in which he breached Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) byelaws.

The case was brought against Mr Denton by NIFCA who manage the inshore fishery along the Northumberland and North Tyneside coastline.

Elizabeth Rowley of Andrew Jackson Solicitors prosecuting on behalf of NIFCA, informed magistrates that on the 13th of October 2022 Fisheries Officers from NIFCA and the Environment Agency observed and recorded Mr Denton aboard a recreational boat fishing using more than the five lobster pots his recreational permit allowed.

The officers proceeded to undertake an inspection on Mr Denton’s catch after he had returned to the shore finding three further offences. Mr Denton had taken more than two lobsters in a day and landed 21 lobsters that were beneath the minimum conservation reference size, three of which were egg baring.

Mr Denton a commercial fisherman, represented by Paul Dunn of Lawson and Thompson solicitors, pleaded guilty to fishing with more than five pots and taking more than two lobsters.

He was found guilty of the other offences and found to have caused deliberate harm to the fishery. The court ordered Mr Denton 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. 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.”