Company Fined For Polluting Waterway With Fish Guts

PUBLISHED: 11:36 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010

A COMPANY who prides itself on its sustainability emptied its fish remains straight into an irrigation ditch, Ely magistrates heard on Tuesday. Pymoor-based company The Sustainable Fish Company opened in July last year and gut fish before they are end up

A COMPANY who prides itself on its sustainability emptied its fish remains straight into an irrigation ditch, Ely magistrates heard on Tuesday.

Pymoor-based company The Sustainable Fish Company opened in July last year and gut fish before they are end up on supermarket shelves.

John Cherry, one of the company's directors, admitted discharging a combination of fat, fish guts and bones directly into the drain at Straight Furlong, from his gutting floor in a portable building. When Environment Agency staff visited, they found a layer of fat 10cm thick which had backed up ditchwater by two metres, and polluted the water up to a kilometre away.

Since the offence, which was discovered by the Environment Agency's duty officer in April, Mr Cherry said the company had spent £12,500 installing a device to catch fat and fish waste, and had employed a haulage company to take away the waste by road.

He said he had not been aware of the rules when the company started its gutting operation more than a year ago.

"We are a small company," he told the court in his own defence, "and business life is difficult in today's economic climate. We employ five people locally, from the village, as one of only two businesses in Pymoor.

"We are working with big supermarkets, and I am sure you will appreciate that the margins are tight in the circumstances."

Mr Cherry, who pleaded guilty to a charge of polluting Straight Furlong, added: "It has been a learning curve for us as a company."

Magistrates fined the Sustainable Fish Company £2,500 and ordered them to pay costs of £3,287.60. A £15 victim surcharge must also be paid.

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