Financial administrative penalties
These instructions take effect from 6 April 2011.
This guidance is not exhaustive, nor is it a definitive statement of the law. The relevant legislation is the Sea Fishing (Penalty Notices) (England) Order 2011 SI 2011 No 758
Your local Marine Management Organisation (MMO) office will be able to provide further advice.
Similar schemes operate in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and by the inshore fisheries conservation authorities (IFCAs).
At a glance
The financial administrative penalties system has been designed to complement the existing enforcement system rather than replace it. You may be offered a financial administrative penalty under the Sea Fishing (Penalty Notices) (England) Order 2011) as an alternative to criminal prosecution in certain circumstances. A penalty will only be offered where there is reason to believe that a person has committed an offence for which an administrative penalty may be issued.
This scheme applies to offences committed in relation to sea fishing in England, and by English and Welsh fishing vessels wherever they operate (Wales and the Welsh Zone excepted) or by other fishing vessels within English waters of British fishery limits. In accordance with the regulations, and where appropriate, the master, owner, charterer, representative, operator and/or legally liable person may be issued with a penalty notice.
The penalty must be paid within 28 days to discharge the offender's liability to be prosecuted for the offence. However you will be under no obligation to accept and pay the penalty if you wish to have the matter dealt with via court proceedings. Non-payment of the penalty will not constitute an offence in itself.
Administrative penalties will not be offered for:
- obstruction, failure to comply with requirements made by marine enforcement officers or preventing another person from complying, and assaults/threats to MEOs or those assisting them – these will be referred for prosecution
- offences under an EU recovery plan which attract automatic licence suspension when no further penalty will apply
- certain illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) offences pertaining to the operation and engagement of IUU-listed vessels.
Written warnings may still be issued, however please note that a written warning or a financial administrative penalty may not always be issued for a first or subsequent offence where the authorities believe that the offending is of such a nature that court proceedings are more appropriate.
Repeat offending may result in increased penalties or automatic referral for prosecution.
For the full range of enforcement sanctions available to the MMO please see the MMO's Compliance and Enforcement Strategy (PDF 89 KB).
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