NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council - Statement On Prosecution Of Kevin Huia Clarke
A Chatham Island commercial fisher was yesterday successfully convicted of not reporting 11 tonnes of pāua and rock lobster worth nearly $900,000.
Chief Executive of the NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council, Mark Edwards says they are very disappointed at this level of offending and the severe impact of the misreporting and fraud on the legitimate industry, particularly on the Chatham Islands (CRA 6).
“Rock lobsters provide very important revenue for the Islands and substantial employment in a location with few other industries. Illegal activity threatens the livelihoods of fishing families on the Chatham Islands.
“The deliberate and large scale of the offending is frustrating given the responsible actions taken by the industry to support a careful rebuild of the CRA 6 fishery and voluntarily contribute to collection of addition data to support assessments.
“Illegal fishing is theft - from the fishery, from legitimate operators and from the community. It is the responsibility of the Courts to determine penalties, and we hope that those applied in this circumstance are adequate to deter future offending.
“Offending of this nature cannot be tolerated and we will continue to encourage the rock lobster industry to work with the Ministry to detect and prosecute offenders who threaten the resource and their livelihoods. MPI are to be congratulated for their efforts and we support their ongoing efforts to successfully prosecute those receiving the illegal catch,” says Edwards.