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Old 20 October 2013, 09:56   #1
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Lobster pots...

Wonder if anyone knows the legal status of pots and rope washed up and left for a long period (months) unattended.

I had a lobster fisherman approach me today trying to commandeer my pots and ropes claiming they were his. I collected the rope from a remote beach back in April when it was a tangled mess. The pots were just shells that had sat for 6 + months again on a remote beach; i repaired them using bits from other old pots.

I told him that I'd effectively collected his litter from the beach.

Cheers
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Old 20 October 2013, 10:00   #2
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Well, larceny by finding is a criminal offence of course but I would have thought the burden would be on him to prove ownership.
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Old 20 October 2013, 10:08   #3
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I am no expert but I would say possesion is 9/10 of the law if he cant prove ownership then bollocks to him he shouldnt have left them on a public beech

Although technically you may be stealing

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Old 20 October 2013, 10:14   #4
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golden rule: don't annoy then local fishermen, I would talk to him nicely then give him the pots!

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Old 20 October 2013, 10:44   #5
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golden rule: don't annoy then local fishermen, I would talk to him nicely then give him the pots!

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What that man said!

Did you find the rope and pots from the same remote beach (where he thought they'd be safe from neds?) or did you find them scattered along the coast on the tide line. There's a difference. Fishermen stash pots all over the place - it doesn't mean they're lost or abandoned.
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Old 20 October 2013, 10:59   #6
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Naa, they were from different beaches on a the tide line. When walking the dogs along the remote beaches there can be tens of pots washed up in jumbles of rope. These are left for months / years until subsequent tides break them up or bury them.
These ones were storm damaged, washed up pots - not stashed and had no tags / identifiers.
With regards annoying local fishermen, I agree. The point is he came across as I was recovering the rib and started on me. I remained calm and factual, but I can't believe the public could be held accountable for larceny when they are not accountable for littering...
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Old 20 October 2013, 11:10   #7
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Sometimes they just leave them there as blinders, preventing other people from using or fishing the area, if they were washed up, I'd say they were 'salvage' and you should keep 'em.

That said , Ive set some pots that have dried out at dead low before, up our ways the tide has a considerable range, but it would be obvious if the pot was being used, in which case I wouldnt touch it
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Old 20 October 2013, 11:31   #8
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I assume you reported your 'finds' to the receiver of wreck?
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Old 20 October 2013, 11:40   #9
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I assume you reported your 'finds' to the receiver of wreck?
Of course

Out of interest is abandoned unmarked equipment technically a receiver of the wreck issue? I wonder if it would be a police issue if it was at the high tide mark? I don't know...

Anyway, I guess the morally correct thing to do would be to take my "salvaged" goods to the local harbour master where there are 4 or 5 lobster boats and let them fight it out...
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Old 20 October 2013, 11:53   #10
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Of course

Out of interest is abandoned unmarked equipment technically a receiver of the wreck issue? I wonder if it would be a police issue if it was at the high tide mark? I don't know...
.
Answer my own question (from https://www.gov.uk/wreck-and-salvage-law)

Definition of wreck
According to section 255 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the definition of wreck includes “jetsam, flotsam, lagan and derelict found in or on the shores of the sea or any tidal water”.

Jetsam, flotsam, lagan and derelict
Jetsam describes goods cast overboard to lighten a vessel in danger of sinking. The vessel may still perish.

Flotsam describes goods lost from a ship which has sunk or otherwise perished. Goods are recoverable because they remain afloat.

Lagan describes goods cast overboard from a ship which afterwards perishes. The goods are buoyed so they can be recovered.

Derelict describes property, whether vessel or cargo, which has been abandoned and deserted at sea by those who were in charge of it without any hope of recovering it.

If a boat comes off its moorings, it isn’t generally classified as a wreck for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, as it hasn’t been abandoned without hope of recovery.

Also, buoys such as data buoys and mooring buoys aren’t classed as wreck. However, buoys which form part of fishing equipment may be classed as wreck when adrift.
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Old 20 October 2013, 16:37   #11
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Wernet ye fekin listnin ?
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Old 21 October 2013, 04:53   #12
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Answer my own question (from https://www.gov.uk/wreck-and-salvage-law)

Definition of wreck
According to section 255 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the definition of wreck includes “jetsam, flotsam, lagan and derelict found in or on the shores of the sea or any tidal water”.

Jetsam, flotsam, lagan and derelict
Jetsam describes goods cast overboard to lighten a vessel in danger of sinking. The vessel may still perish.

Flotsam describes goods lost from a ship which has sunk or otherwise perished. Goods are recoverable because they remain afloat.

Lagan describes goods cast overboard from a ship which afterwards perishes. The goods are buoyed so they can be recovered.

Derelict describes property, whether vessel or cargo, which has been abandoned and deserted at sea by those who were in charge of it without any hope of recovering it.

If a boat comes off its moorings, it isn’t generally classified as a wreck for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, as it hasn’t been abandoned without hope of recovery.

Also, buoys such as data buoys and mooring buoys aren’t classed as wreck. However, buoys which form part of fishing equipment may be classed as wreck when adrift.
Interesting one this, As I understand it & I could be wrong. If you declare the pots to the Receiver, & she decides that they are wreck, it's her (last time I heard the Receiver was a woman & a very "officious" one at that) responsibility to trace the owner. If the owner can be established, & he wants his pots back, you are entitled to the cost of salvage + an agreed value of the wreck (pots) If he doesn't want them back or is unwilling to pay, you can keep the pots. As divers, we had a few brushes with the R.O.W when she first swept into town, she started laying the law down, articles in Diver magazine & the like. There were a couple of high profile cases. She tried to prosecute a friend of mine for removing items from a wreck he owned, it got to the exchange of court papers before they dropped it. We started a campaign then of reporting EVERY little thing that we pick up from the seabed, unidentified bits of old iron, a door knob, crockery etc, she backed off eventually.
The other alternative is to return the pots to where you found them, in which case you'd probably get prosecuted for fly tipping by the local council
The pots could be classed as lost property & if the fisherman can prove they are his, it would only be fair to give them back.
You could keep them & tell him to report you for theft & let plod sort it, although up in your neck of the woods, local plod might be his brother or dad (or both) & you might come off worst. You could argue that you were cleaning up the beaches of discarded fishing gear, plenty of that about. In which case you probably couldn't justify not handing them (the pots) back.

Or you could just give the bloke his feckin pots back & hope that you don't get your trailer tyres slashed the next time you launch.

Good luck
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Old 21 October 2013, 05:24   #13
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back to golden rule : Don't annoy the locals !
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Old 21 October 2013, 07:11   #14
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Wernet ye fekin listnin ?
Bit slow sometimes

I've reported the kit to the Receiver and will go back to see the chap tonight. Its his business vs my pleasure so I do understand his point.

I'll offer his pots back - there's loads of them lying around so can grab a couple more next time I'm out with the dogs

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Old 21 October 2013, 08:47   #15
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i found a kayak under a load of ferns hidden away it was a long way from anywhere so i presumed the owners had stashed it in really bad weather & walked back to the nearest road ,it was there over a month then 1 day a fella came over the fields to where i was fishing ,it was as i expected left there in rough weather he had lifevest & paddle & off he went lol ,he was lucky i think it wasnt taken by someone (luckily it was in 1 of my secret bassin spots
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Old 21 October 2013, 11:53   #16
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Bit slow sometimes

I've reported the kit to the Receiver and will go back to see the chap tonight. Its his business vs my pleasure so I do understand his point.

I'll offer his pots back - there's loads of them lying around so can grab a couple more next time I'm out with the dogs

Aye .. that would be my next suggestion ... give him half then, and say thats all you found
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