An experienced north-east trawlerman has been fined after being caught using illegal nets.
Gary Bruce was in charge of the Fraserburgh-registered Maluka as it operated in the waters of the Moray Firth on December 20, 2017.
But the 38-year-old was caught breaching conservation measures by using the wrong size of nets during the trip.
Bruce previously admitted breaching the Sea Fishing Order and Fisheries Act, both of which are aimed at enforcing quota rules, and appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court yesterday for sentencing.
The court was told Bruce has decades of experience of sea having started his fishing career as a teenager.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Defence agent Andrew Mackie told the court that Bruce has been working out at sea for the best part of 25 years.
He said it was a “matter of regret” for the Fraserburgh-based skipper that he was appearing in court and he had returned from the south of England for the appearance.
Mr Mackie said: “My client fully realises he has the obligation to ensure the boat was in line with regulations. He is an experienced fisherman.
“He cooperated fully with the Marine Scotland at the time of the inspection and the crew adjusted the nets and continued to fish.
“The incident was almost a year ago and there have been no further breaches.
“Mr Bruce’s take home income fluctuates and he earns around £45,000 a year but that depends on the takings from fishing.
“The reality of this matter is that my client has suffered a harsh lesson and the requirement to comply will be reinforced.
“He flew in from Exeter last night and is aware of the gravity of this.”
Sheriff Gary Aitken fined Bruce, whose address was given in court papers as Scalloway Park, Fraserburgh, a total of £3,200 and gave him four weeks to pay up.