The wooden gill netter Girl Patricia was one of six vessels involved in a complex and devious conspiracy known as the ‘Newlyn Black Fish Scam’.
The vessel, built in 1969, had received EU modernisation grants worth €12,053.89.
The owners and skippers of six Newlyn fishing vessels who deliberately over-fished protected fish stocks for financial gain and an auctioneer who sold their fish were ordered to pay a total of £188,450 in fines and costs by a judge at Truro Crown Court on January 6th 2009. Arthur Williams, 47, and 72-year-old Leonard Williams, owners of the Girl Patricia and both living in Newlyn, were each fined £9,000 with £7,018 costs.
Reporting for the Daily Telegraph on the Newlyn Black Fish Scam, Charles Clover wrote
Six owners and skippers of fishing boats and the auctioneer who sold their fish in Newlyn, Cornwall, were sentenced on Tuesday for systematically falsifying paperwork in order to disguise the sale of illegally landed cod, hake and monkfish as species such as turbot, brill and bass, which could be landed legally.
The 114 specimen charges on which they were convicted, in the largest case of its kind, and for which they were ordered to pay around £190,000 in fines and costs, related only to a six-month period in 2002.
There is every reason to conclude from the evidence assembled by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that systematic fiddling had been going on in Newlyn for years.
Seven months before the trial, on the afternoon of 29 May 2008, the Girl Patricia started taking on water and sank, some 28 nautical miles north west of Land’s End. Its skipper and three crew members took to the sea and swam the 100 metres to the Ben My Chree, a vessel that had responded to the Girl Patricia’s earlier distress calls. The men were understood to be cold, shocked and tired but otherwise unscathed.
Photo by valhalla on trawlerphotos.co.uk
Girl Patricia on fishsubsidy.org