Trawler fishing off Norfolk coast issued with record fine by Royal Navy’s HMS Mersey

A record on the spot fine has been issued to fishermen trawling off the Norfolk coast after they were found using undersized nets.

Crew from the Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Mersey issued the �8,000 fine after they boarded Dutch fishing vessel the FV Elizabeth.

The Mersey - one of three ships from the Navy's Fishery Protection Squadron - was on routine duties when it spotted the Elizabeth sailing 74km off the county's shoreline.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Mark Anderson decided to send over an inspection team, led by Marine Enforcement Officer Midshipman Phill Fordham.

Once aboard the crew found the two cod ends - the section of the net that catches and holds the fish - were 'significantly undersized', meaning young and vulnerable species were unable to escape as they were dragged through the water.

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On reporting the infringement the Mersey issued the trawler's captain with the four-figure fine.

Lt Cdr Anderson said: 'This is a great result for my ship's company and another example of the continued effectiveness of Royal Navy fishery protection vessels working to enforce important fisheries legislation in and around UK waters.'

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The Fishery Protection Squadron is the oldest within the Royal Navy. Its ships patrol UK and EU waters inspecting fishing vessels at sea and enforcing fisheries regulations on behalf of the government's Marine Management Organisation.

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