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Amaltal Is Considering Appealing Against Guilty Verdict

Amaltal will likely appeal the guilty verdict to a single charge under the Marine Reserves Act 1971, ruled by Judge Reilly last week.

Amaltal spokesperson Tony Hazlett says the company acted lawfully and liability for the actions of the skipper who mistakenly acted against company policy should not be attributed to the company. The skipper has apologised to both the company and the court for the mistake.

"Amaltal will likely appeal the judge's ruling," says Hazlett. "Amaltal takes the sustainability of the marine environments where we fish seriously, and do notcondone fishing in closedareas in any circumsta nces. Thatis why we providethorough training andin-depth ongoinginstruction of skippers and crew. This is our responsibility, and we did this for this skipper. We provided him with all the resources and equipment necessary for fishing lawfully, including maritime charts, copies of fisheries laws, regulations, electronic navigation equipment and regular compliance training.

"Meanwhile, the skipper also had a Catch Plan for the trip and it was his responsibility to determine exactly where to fish and to ensure the vessel operates legally once at sea," said Hazlett. He has admitted and apologised for the mistake and for acting in error against company policy and instruction. There should not be attributed liability to Amaltal."

Background

The charge against Amaltal relates to an incident in March last year. The fishing vessel Amaltal Mariner started a tow outside the Hikurangi Marine Reserve and the skipper then accidentally crossed the line into the reserve whilst fishing. The fishing in the restricted area was very brief, just 12 minutes, with only $489.00 worth of fish caught. No benthic organisms were caught during the incident.

On 27 May this year, the Amaltal Mariner's skipper was fined $15,525 after pleading guilty earlier this yearfor unintentionally fishingin the reserve.The skipper has alsoapologised to the company for his mistake.

Amaltal pleaded not guilty to a charge under the Marine Reserves Act 1971. Its defence was heard by Judge Reilly in the Nelson District Court in August.

Amaltal will be making no further comment.

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