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Fishery Officers Face Multi-National Criminals

Wednesday 30 June 2004

Fishery Officers Face Multi-National Criminal Networks

“The Ministry of Fisheries has admitted that Fishery Officers face sophisticated multi-national criminal networks who are carrying out and supporting large scale illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) Fishing,” said Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. He was commenting on statements in the New Zealand Plan of Action to Prevent Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing released by the Minister of Fisheries yesterday.

“Fishery Officers report that those involved in these IUU fishing areas often encourage crews to use drugs like amphetamines so they can stay awake and operate at high intensity for long periods,” said Martin Cooney. “Crew members often include gang members and criminals and anecdotal information indicates manufacture of drugs on the fishing vessels themselves.”

“The Ministry admits in material released under the Official Information Act that the effects of these drugs can lead to fishers demonstrating violent and psychotic behaviour including homicidal aspirations.”

“Fishery Officers are facing this new threat from Asian triads and other gang based criminal networks without the tools to do the job,” said Martin Cooney.

“We imagine the multi-national criminal networks are surprised to hear the Minister of Fisheries boasting of New Zealand’s plan of action when the Officers mostly responsible for implementing it are about to take their first strike action in 25 years because the Ministry has failed to provide pepper spray and ASP batons to officers.”

ENDS

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