Sunderland fisherman fined for breaking up lobster

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A FISHERMAN has been fined after taking lobster parts from a protected area.

Eric Jackson was stopped by a Fisheries Officer as he was leaving the coast, at Whitburn, with four lobster claws and two lobster tails in a bag.

The 55-year-old has a permit to catch two lobsters per day from the area – but they must be more than 87mm long.

Jackson told the officers his catch were over the minimum size, but because he had dismantled them it could not be proved.

The parts were seized and Jackson, of Francis Street, Roker, Sunderland, charged with breaching a bylaw of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

He admitted the breach, on July 21 last year, at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Anthony Senior said: “The bylaw says it is a contravention of the relevant act to remove any parts of a lobster.”

Defending himself, Jackson said: “I had my measure to make sure they were the right size, which they were, but the officer took them off me.

“I wasn’t going to sell them. If I was I would have taken undersized ones, but I wouldn’t do that. I follow the rules.”

District Judge Roger Elsey said: “The bylaw says taking any part means there’s a chance the lobster parts could be from an undersized lobster, which is why it is in place.”

Jackson was fined £300, and ordered to pay £300 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.