Operation Jolly Roger: inside the secret world of Scotland’s fishermen pirates

jollyrogerflagAn underground intelligence network aimed at helping hundreds of fishermen avoid getting caught fishing illegally around Scotland’s coast has been condemned as “blatant piracy”. Fishermen intent on breaking the law are tracking the movements of the Scottish Government’s three fisheries patrol boats – the Minna, Jura and Hirta – to try and hamper them from policing the seas, boarding boats and seizing their illegal catches. The three Marine Protection Vessels (MPVs) regularly patrol the coastline on the lookout for boats breaching the law by taking “black fish” in excess of their quotas, fishing in conservation areas or using illegal techniques, such as electric fishing. But a social media site followed by 670 people is posting daily sightings and photos of the MPVs so that illegal fishermen can keep out of their way. It has also published abusive comments about the government’s Marine Scotland agency and the former fisheries minister, SNP MSP Richard Lochhead. The revelations have prompted anger from campaigners and politicians, and a plea for respect from the Scottish Government. Fishermen have responded by saying they are defending their livelihood because “red tape is killing us”. Read the story here 10:23