first_imgTHREE Pelagic fishing vessels based in Donegal were given fines yesterday afternoon – for failing to correctly declare the amount of catch they had landed.The Golden Rose, The Paula and The Sheanne were all in the dock, having plead guilty to falsely declaring what they had landed. The skippers of the three vessels at the centre of the investigation – Tom Doyle (The Paula) Donal Murphy (The Sheanne) and Thomas Faherty (The Golden Rose) all appeared in court yesterday afternoon in relation to the offences.The National Bureau of Fraud launched an investigation into ‘overfishing’ by Pelagic trawlers fishing out of Killybegs.The offences before the court were dated back to incidents in September 2003 and February, 2004.The court heard how warrants had been obtained, and a number of documents seized as the investigators launched a blitz on the Pelagic fleet.The first case dealt with yesterday, was that of The Paula, a Killybegs fishing vessel owned by Mick Doyle.Garda Tom Croft told Letterkenny Circuit Court, “After a lengthy investigation, documents showed that instances of overfishing had occurred on the vessel.“Skipper of The Paula, Tom Doyle was arrested by arrangement on the 29th June, 2007.“By law, when a fishing vessel lands, it has to make a landing declaration indicating the quantity and type of fish caught.”The court then heard that on the 23rd September, 2003, The Paula declared that they had 29 tonnes of SCAD, however, it was discovered that there was a further 29 tonnes of SCAD undeclared by the vessel.The value of the undeclared catch amounted to €5,583.00.Solicitor for the defendants, Dermot Barry, told the court, “Artic Fish Sales, the agent used by The Paula, used a double book-keeping system to store stock landed.“This was a period when we were reliant on human input, and there was no recorded black diaries.“A system called HAILING was in place, and human input into the hailing meant errors could be made.“My client was fully co-operative with Gardaí and he saved the state a great expense by entering an early guilty plea.“Also a forensic accountant confirmed that the undeclared catch cost the Irish taxpayer nothing, and there was no loss of revenue to the state.“The amount undeclared was relatively small, and I’d ask the judge to be as lenient  as possible.Judge John Aylmer fined Tom Doyle €7,500 which will be paid by Doyle Fishing Company LTD.In the case of Donal Murphy, skipper of the Sheanne, the court heard how he had declared four tonnes of Horse Mackerel – but the investigation found that there was 16.8 tonnes of undeclared Horse Mackerel on the vessel.However, this only amounted to €940.00 and again solicitor Dermot Barry asked the judge to be lenient.Barry said, “Mr Murphy no longer works for The Sheanne after difference arose between him and his crew, and he was dismissed by his employers.“Mr Murphy has worked in this industry all his life, and I must stress that it’s almost impossible to get a job once your dismissed given the age profile of Mr Murphy.“He is basically unemployable, but he has tried hard to get work, and worked on tugboat in England, which is much less lucrative than skippering a Pelagic vessel.“He fully co-operated with Gardaí, and his early guilty plea must be taken into account given the expense it saved the state.“Again, there was no loss of revenue to the Irish state, and considering the fine will be incurred by Mr Murphy – and not his former employers – I’d again ask you to be lenient.”Judge John Aylmer said, “I take into account his current employment situation, and the fact he co-operated with Gardaí fully and entered an early guilty plea.“I will impose a fine of €500, but I will give him six months to pay it.”In the case of Thomas Faherty, skipper of The Golden Rose, the court heard that he made  a landing declaration of 54 tonnes of herring on-board the vessel.However, it emerged that a staggering 104 tonnes of herring had been undeclared.Dermot Barry told the court, “Again my client was fully co-operative with Gardaí, and the fact he entered an early guilty plea must be taken into account as he spared the state a great expense.“A forensic accountant also confirmed that there was no loss of revenue to the state.“It’s not unusual for the water content of the tanker to be in excess of forty-fifty tonne – so this could have contributed to the gross amount that was undeclared.“He has no previous convictions, and is keen to put this episode behind him, he’s a 60 year-old man and has a very young child.”Judge John Aylmer said, “This is the most serious offence I’ve dealt with today, but I take into account your full co-operation with Gardaí – and the early guilty plea spared the state expense.“I note you have a young child and that you’re desperate to put this matter behind you and move on with your fishing career – so I will impose a fine of €10,000. ”PELAGIC FISHING BOATS FINED FOR NOT DECLARING CORRECT LANDING CATCH was last modified: December 17th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on 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