Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


50 MPI officers swoop on rock lobster black market

50 MPI officers swoop on rock lobster black market


Fifty Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI) compliance officers wrapped up an undercover operation today that targeted recreational fishers catching and selling rock lobster (crayfish) in the South Island.

The operation was focused on activities in the Kaikoura area but also included the Christchurch and Marlborough/Nelson areas.

It is illegal to sell your recreational fishing catch with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.

Fortythree people will be interviewed by compliance officers, many of these are likely to face serious Fisheries Act charges, including a food wholesaler and a restaurant in Christchurch.

Ten cars, five boats and a tractor, all connected with black market catch and sales, have been seized as part of the operation, which involved the execution of 32 search warrants.

MPI has identified a number of other residents who may be involved in black market activity and will be monitored closely in the future.

“It is MPI’s role to ensure people are fishing by the rules and to protect New Zealand’s fisheries for future generations. As this operation would indicate, it is something we take very seriously,” says MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne.

An MPI Special Duties Officer (under cover) bought 1200 cooked rock lobster from recreational fishers in an operation run over approximately 12 months. The undercover officer was managed nationally from Wellington, without the knowledge of local Compliance Officers.

MPI Director Compliance Dean Baigent says the ease in which someone could purchase 1200 rock lobster points to a well established black market.

Mr Baigent says intelligence gathered by MPI suggests there has been a thriving black market in recreationally caught rock lobster in the town for some time.

“Recreational fishers have been fishing in a pseudo-commercial way and selling their catch to supply a large black market including locals, tourists, hotels and restaurants and businesses further afield.”

“For some permanent residents, selling their recreational catch and taking extra is a long practised and normalised behaviour. The same goes for people who like to buy a few cheap crays or a bag of fillets at the pub or out of the boot of a car.”

“Buying and selling black market fish is illegal and we’re reminding people about that today.”

Mr Baigent says a black market for rock lobster undermines the sustainability of the fishery and puts it at risk for genuine fishers – whether they are customary, commercial or recreational.

He says many of those involved are long term recidivist poachers known as ‘six-a-dayers’.

“These poachers take their recreational limit of six a day, every day they can, and sell it.

“They increase their catch by taking extra passengers and attributing another six rock lobster to each passenger, or going out more than once a day and taking the daily recreational limit every time.

Mr Baigent says there is no black market if people aren’t buying.

“We rely on the public to help protect their fisheries. I encourage people to report any suspicious fishing, buying or selling to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.


Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing:
John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider.

The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.

It was hard work but in the end we kept more than 300 skilled and well-paid jobs in New Zealand. And we managed to benefit Air New Zealand and its workforce with productivity gains too... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news