Govt to compensate trawler owners

Govt to compensate trawler ownersOwners of large fishing trawlers landed a good catch in the High Court today, when a judge ruled they should not have been excluded from a compensation scheme for decommissioning their boats.

The decision means that the British government will have to pay out an extra £400,000 in compensation.

In his reserved judgement upholding an application for judicial review, Mr Justice Girvan quoted from Psalm 107: “They that go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business in great waters, these men see the works of the Lord: and his wonders in the deep.”

The judge said: “Now they also see less wondrous works of men who by a combination of bad husbandry and greedy fishing methods have seriously depleted the fishing stocks in the waters around these islands.”

The court action challenging the lawfulness of the 2001 decommissioning scheme was brought by Dick James, part owner of the trawler MFV Investors and chief executive of the NI Fish Producers Organisation Ltd., which represents
local fishermen.

He successfully argued that the scheme discriminated against larger trawlers because of the way in which it was drawn up.

Afterwards, Mr James said his organisation was pleased that their interpretation of the scheme had been upheld and, in a personal capacity, it meant that he could plan for the future after four years in limbo.

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