Scottish skipper fined £5,000 for illegal scallop dredging
The captain of a Scottish-registered trawler caught fishing illegally in Manx waters has been fined £5,000.
The vessel, Saturnus, was detained by Isle of Man officials after being caught dredging for king scallops in a closed area near the Point of Ayre.
At Douglas courthouse, Ian McClelland of Kirkmahoe, Dumfries admitted fishing in a restricted zone.
Closed areas exist to protect areas where queen scallops breed and sensitive young stocks settle.
McClelland, who did have a licence to fish for king scallops in "open" areas, was also ordered to forfeit his catch.
Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said: "Dredging activity such as that conducted by Saturnus can damage and destroy this vulnerable habitat."
The Department of Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture (DEFA) said it believed licence conditions were clear and closed areas could be easily identified.
It is the second substantial fine handed out in as many weeks after the captain of a Northern Ireland-registered trawler was fined £8,000 for unlawfully for king scallops.
Director of Fisheries Karen McHarg said in total four skippers have been prosecuted in 2016, compared to eight last year.
In 2015, fines totalling £72,000 were handed down and £18,000 of catch forfeited.