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Monty Halls urges the public to join in fish debate

This gurnard will go from the sea to the table in Plymouth in less than 12 hours Credit: ITV News

Marine biologist Monty Halls has urged the public to join him in a special debate on the future of fishing and the sustainable use of our seas.

The star of The Fisherman's Apprentice is hosting a debate this evening in which he'll be inviting audience members to quiz an expert panel and share their views on issues affecting the sector.

The debate - Sustainable Fisheries in a Changing World - is being held today in Plymouth University's graduation marquee on the Hoe.

One of the key questions is how to create sustainability in the fishing industry. The gurnard pictured will go from the sea to the table in Plymouth in less than 12 hours. It used to be crab bait. Now it's a fashionable eating fish. And it helps the fishermen keep to their quotas.

Spanish fishing firms fined £1.6m

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.


MMO's reaction to the record fine for fisheries offences

We are pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of these offences.

This company systematically abused the quota system for significant and unfair financial gain, threatening the future sustainability of an already vulnerable fish stock and impacting on the businesses of legitimate fishermen by flooding the market with cheaper fish.

The majority of the fishing industry is compliant with the rules that govern its commercial activities, but we will ensure that those who aren’t do not enjoy unfair financial advantage from illegal sales.

– Danny Poulding, Senior Investigating Officer, Marine Management Organisation

Record fine for Spanish fishing firms

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.

Green Party calls for immediate ban on throwing fish back

A ban on throwing fish back into the sea needs to be implemented immediately according to the Green Party.

Fishermen have been discarding fish to stop them exceeding their quotas set by Europe. The West Country's fishing industry welcomed a decision this week by the EU Council that the practice should be stopped.

It took lengthy negotiations for Europe to agree a ban on fish discards Credit: ITV Westcountry

The first phase of the ban will not come into effect until 2014, but the Green Party says the ban must start earlier to help save threatened species.


Fishing industry welcomes ban on discarding surplus fish

The celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has long supported the campaign Credit: Georgie Gillard/PA

The West Country's fishing industry is welcoming a ban on the controversial policy of discarding dead fish caught accidentally. Fisherman have had to do it to stop them exceeding their quotas set by Europe.

But after 24 hours of negotiations, fisheries ministers in Brussels have approved a plan to overturn those rules and allow fishermen to keep the extra fish.

It was also decided that regions should be given more control over managing their fisheries.

The change follows pressure from the UK government and a long public campaign, which has included Westcountry TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

It's not definite when the ban will come in but it could be two years for mackerel and herring, and more like six years for cod, haddock, plaice and sole.

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