Food Law News - UK - 2004

DEFRA Press Release, 2 February 2004

PROSECUTION - Company and managing director fined for sale of live fish

Selling live fish to a supermarket for use as food has netted a Cambridgeshire company and its managing director a £1,941.20 fine. This is the first time an offence of this nature has been prosecuted.

Oceans Flow Ltd, based in Ely, and its managing director, John Cherrie, pleaded guilty to selling live Tilapia to a London-based supermarket in May 2003 for sale as food.

The fish had been imported live from the United States on condition that the fish could not be sold on from the site as live fish. Sale of the live fish was a breach of the conditions in the import licence granted to the company by Defra.

Heard and sentenced at Ely Magistrates Court on 27 January, the company was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay £241.20 costs. Mr Cherrie was fined a further £500.

The following additional notes are provided:

1. The defendant, Mr Cherrie, had received an official warning from Defra in 2002 for a similar offence.

2. The charge was brought under Section 1(4) of the Diseases of Fish Act 1937 which states- If any person in contravention of the provisions of this section imports or brings or procures to be imported or brought into Great Britain any live fish or eggs of fish or, being the holder of a licence under this Act, contravenes any condition subject to which the licence was granted, he shall be guilty of an offence.

3. The offence was a contravention of the conditions outlined in Schedule 2 of the DOF 8C Licence to Import live fish, live shellfish or their eggs and gametes for specified purposes issued to Oceans Flow Ltd.

4. The case followed an investigation carried out by Fish Health Inspectors from the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Weymouth.

5. CEFAS is an executive agency of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, and is responsible for prevention of the spread of serious fish diseases in England and Wales.

6. Live fish may only be imported into Great Britain in accordance with requirements outlined in "A Guide to Importing Fish" available on the Defra website:

7. An explanation of the controls on notifiable fish diseases in Great Britain, and advice on steps to prevent the spread of disease is set out in Defra's booklet "Combating Fish Disease" available on the Defra website:

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