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Two Spanish fishing firms have been handed some of the largest fines in British maritime history by a Truro court. It follows an investigation into log book fraud.
The two companies and their two skippers deliberately disguised the amount of fish they were catching. They've been fined more than one point six million pounds. The judge said the crime involved "flagrant, repeated and long term abuse of EU fishing regulations".
They were caught off the Cornish coast. Kathy Wardle reports.
A court has ordered a Spanish fishing company, its UK subsidiary and their captains to pay a total of £1.62 million for serious fisheries offences.
This is the highest court order amount ever imposed in a Marine Management Organisation (MMO) fisheries case.
Truro Crown Court handed down the sentence in relation to illegal overfishing of ling and hake, a particularly vulnerable fish stock, between 2009 and 2010 by two fishing vessels – the Spanish-registered Coyo Tercero and UK-registered O’Genita.
Charges brought by the MMO included providing false entries in logbooks and failing to record trans-shipments.
The defendants – masters of the vessels, Jose Antonio Perez Garcia (Coyo Tercero) and Jose Manuel Martinez Sanchez (O’Genita), and the owning companies pleaded guilty to charges at an earlier hearing in Truro on 5 April 2012.