Two Donegal fishermen have been fined €67,500 for under declaring fishing catches

fish discardsTwo Donegal fishermen have been fined a total of €67,500 for under declaring fishing catches in Killybegs, ten years ago.

The fines were imposed at Donegal Circuit Court today:

Master of the Father McKee, Michael Kavanagh, of 11 Ballybough, Greencastle was fined €30,000, while master of the Brendallon, Brendan Gill, of The Cottages, Greencastle, was fined €37,500.

Judge Keenan Johnson said a message had to go out to the public and the fishing community at large that such “activities carried consequences”.

Both defendants had pleaded guilty to one charge each of failing to give an accurate declaration of a catch within 48 hours in Killybegs on October 1 and September 28 in Killybegs in 2004.

Judge Johnson said this was the third case he had dealt with in a couple of days but the amount involved concerning Kavanagh and Gill exceeded that of the previous case.

He added that the practice of under declaring catches landed was endemic in 2004 but all had changed in the interim, thanks to improved supervision.

The judge said that a lot of skippers were under declaring and those who complied with the law were at a disadvantage.

He added that the plea, both men’s previous good characters, and the fact that both were employers were mitigating factors.

But he said he had to taken the amount of the deception into consideration also.

Both men were given 18 months to pay the fines.

Prosecution Counsel Tom O’Connell told the court that Michael Kavanagh, had landed 60 ton of scad, and 123 ton of mackerel but only declared 59 ton of scad on October 1 when his documents were checked in the Donegal Fishermen’s Co-Op.

Kavanagh’s under declaration came to £24,580 from the incident.

His co –accused Brendan Gill, landed 210 ton of scad but only declared 75 ton on September 28, 2004.

He also landed but did not declare 50 ton of mackerel which came to €33,251 from the matter.