Recreational Shellfish Gatherer Pleads Guilty to Byelaw Breach

Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) has successfully prosecuted a recreational shellfish gatherer for breaching one if its byelaws.

On the 10th of November 2022, at North Shields Magistrates Court, Mr Michael William Denton of Newbiggin by the Sea pled guilty to the breach.

Andrew Oliver of Andrew Jackson Solicitors prosecuting on behalf of NIFCA, which manages the inshore fishery along the Northumberland and North Tyneside coastline, informed magistrates that on the 12th of May, Mr Denton was observed and recorded fishing with shellfish pots within the NIFCA district.

Mr Denton, a crew member on a commercial fishing vessel, was aware of the fisheries legislation and was fishing from his own recreational boat without the required NIFCA Recreational Shellfish Permit.

Mr Denton, represented by Paul Dunn of Lawson and Thompson Solicitors was found to have been negligent and to have caused harm to the fishery. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £43.00.

Nick Weir, Lead Enforcement Officer at NIFCA, said: “The Authority is happy with the court’s findings and its recognition of the importance of the work we do. Fishing for shellfish in Northumberland is vitally important to commercial fishers and a source of great enjoyment for responsible recreational gatherers.

“I would advise anyone who wishes to fish or gather shellfish to visit our website or contact our office to check that what they are doing is within our byelaws. The byelaws exist to balance the social, environmental and economic needs of our stakeholders in order to promote healthy seas, sustainable fishing and a viable industry.”