THE HIGH Court in Glasgow on Friday issued fines totalling £960,000 to 17 fishing skippers and one former fish factory over illegal landings between 2002 and 2005.
The fines come on top of a £3 million confiscation order for the profits they made through this sophisticated scam.
The fishermen were also forced to forego quota to make up for the thousands of tonnes of black fish they caught.
The 17 skippers, 13 of whom are from Shetland, all landed over quota mackerel and herring at Lerwick’s Shetland Catch factory using an elaborate mechanism to avoid detection.
Sentences passed (in order of severity) were:
• £80,000 fine and £425,900 confiscation order against Enterprise skipper Hamish Slater, 52, of Strichen Road, Fraserburgh;
• £70,000 fine and £371,300 confiscation order against Serene skipper Robert Polson, 48, of Breiwick Road, Lerwick;
• £70,000 fine and £341,000 confiscation order against Enterprise skipper Victor Buschini, 51, of Kiln lane, Hambleton, Lancashire;
• £50,000 fine and £283,000 confiscation order against Kings Cross skipper Alexander Masson, 65, of Strichen Road, Fraserburgh;
• £80,000 fine and £236,000 confiscation order against Zephyr skipper John Irvine, 68, of Braeside, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £45,000 fine and £213,000 confiscation order against Research W skipper William Andrew Williamson, 65, of Westerlea, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £80,000 fine and £210,700 confiscation order against Antares skipper Laurence Anderson Irvine, 66, of Aviemore, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £50,000 fine and £196,000 confiscation order against Kings Cross skipper Alexander Wiseman, 60, of Sandyhill Gardens, Banff;
• £40,000 fine and £140,900 confiscation order against David Hutchison, 66, of Ankerhus, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £40,000 fine and £140,500 confiscation order against Serene skipper Thomas Eunson, 56, of Westwinds, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £35,000 fine and £120,600 confiscation order against Allister Irvine, 63, of Karinya, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £35,000 fine and £118,500 confiscation order against Research W skipper Gary Williamson, 52, of Norvag, Symbister;
• £12,000 fine and £51,300 confiscation order against Adenia skipper George Andrew Henry, 60, of Noonsbrough, Clousta;
• £15,000 fine and £41,300 confiscation order against Antarctic skipper John William Stewart, 57, of King Harald Street, Lerwick;
• £12,000 fine and £40,700 confiscation order against Adenia skipper George Anderson, 56, of Harbourview, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £3,000 fine and £12,000 confiscation order against Antarctic II skipper Colin Andrew Leask, 39, of Vaarheim, Symbister, Whalsay;
• £3,000 fine and £2,700 confiscation order against Serene skipper Allen Anderson, 55, of Solvei, Symbister, Whalsay.
The former Alexander Buchan factory was fined £240,000 for assisting a separate group of skippers to make false declarations at its Peterhead premises and has confiscation order of £165,000 served on it.
On Friday three fishermen also pled guilty to landing fish worth £3.5 million at the Peterhead factory.
They were 54 year old Alert skipper James Smith (fish worth £238,008); 36 year old Alert skipper John Smith (fish worth £1,529,096); and 49 year old Unity skipper Stephen Bellany (fish worth £1,856,157).
In a separate case three other fishermen have admitted landing fish illegally at Peterhead’s Fresh Catch factory. Two of these had also admitted landing black fish at Shetland Catch, the combined value amounting to £6 million.
They were 64 year old Christina S skipper Ernest Simpson (fish worth £1,468,961.64 at Shetland Catch and £551,152.49 at Fresh Catch Ltd; 42 year old Christina S skipper Allan Simpson (fish worth £2,118,904.01 at Shetland Catch and £593,726.37 at Fresh Catch); and 63 year old Quantus skipper Oswald McRonald (fish worth £1,266,990.97 at Fresh Catch).
Fresh Catch itself also pled guilty to submitting false declarations for fish amounting to £10.5 million.
Sentence on these six has been deferred until 18 May at the High Court in Edinburgh.
After the hearings, Lindsey Miller, head of the Crown Office’s Serious and Organised Crime Division, said investigations were still going on into other landings.
Detective superintendent Gordon Gibson of Grampian Police, who led the police investigation, said: “The scale of crime committed by these individuals was at a level rarely seen before.
“It was apparent during our investigations that these individuals totally disregarded any legislation to prevent this occurring and as can be seen from the landings made, they amassed huge sums of money through their own greed and today this caught up with them in a court of law.”
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