Million-dollar fisheries scam uncovered

Dec. 30, 2011 at 7:54 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Fishermen at a processing company in Shetland adjusted scales so they could take in more mackerel and herring than allowed, an investigation found.

An investigation by the BBC determined scales at processing company Shetland Catch Ltd. were set to indicate to engineers a lower weight than was actually landed. That meant fishermen were taking in more mackerel and herring than allowed under quotas set by the European Union.

More than a dozen skippers were involved in the operation, which the British broadcaster said amounted to $73 million in illegal fish catches.

The broadcaster notes the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency ordered an investigation in the area because of allegations of widespread illegal fishing practices.

The Scottish government in November said it was expecting the European Commission to introduce sanctions against the Faroe Islands and Iceland for overfishing mackerel in the region. Edinburgh said they are both taking on more mackerel than their internationally agreed upon share.

The violations at Shetland Catch Ltd. took place February 2003-March 2005.

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