Sacre bleu! (fisherman changed to protect the guilty)

 `When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea’

Wise words indeed from Eric Cantona that have become historic as something to say to bamboozle a press conference. However, it’s true enough and two of his countrymen are in hot, unsalted water this week after the seagulls were very much circling above Jersey waters while they came a’fishin.

The two French fishermen appeared in the Royal Court and pleaded guilty to fishing inside the Jersey’s three-mile exclusive limit and also misreporting fishing zones in their vessel’s logbooks. Arnaud Delalonde, owner and skipper of fishing vessel Pescadore admitted offences on six separate occasions. Clearly the Spanish name did little to throw officers of the scent as he fished for scallop off Jersey’s coast. Tony Mesnage, skipper of fishing vessel, Saltimbanque (which means ‘Entertainer’ in French – every day is a school day…) also pleaded guilty to offences on four separate occasions. Both vessels were fishing using dredges.

Pescadore (ole!) was found fishing inside the exclusive three-mile limit during a night time operation and officers used satellite tracking and other electronic data to establish that both Pescadore and Saltimbanque had fished inside the three-mile limit on a number of other occasions. Delalonde was fined a total of £20,000 and Mesnage a total of £10,000.

Assistant Director Marine Resources, Greg Morel, said “This was a complex investigation and I am very pleased with the outcome. The regulations are in place to ensure our important marine resources are fished sustainably for this and future generations. The court has sent a clear signal that breaking these rules are viewed very seriously and with be dealt with in a way that reflects this.”