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Northland operation nets commercial fishers

2nd November 2005

PRESS RELEASE

From the Ministry of Fisheries


Northland operation nets commercial fishers

Three men are likely to face charges under the Fisheries Act as a result of a fisheries compliance operation in Northland.

A 16-metre commercial fishing vessel, valued at $550,000, a large number of crayfish pots, and a vehicle worth $8,000 have been seized as a result of the three-month operation. The operation began after anomalies were discovered in landing returns from the vessel.

It is alleged by the Ministry of Fisheries that these landing returns had, over the vessel’s past 10 trips, under-reported its crayfish catch by some 700 kg (with an estimated commercial value of $38,500).

“Mis-reporting of catch undermines our fisheries management system, and affects the property rights of quota owners, and the catches of recreational and customary fishers,” said Dave Turner, Ministry of Fisheries’ Northland District Compliance Manager.

Mr Turner says the apprehension of the three men should stand as a clear warning to everybody involved in commercial fisheries that the Ministry is monitoring vessels closely, and those that offend will get caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Mr Turner says that all commercial fishers and licensed fish receivers are required to complete accurate landing and or fish receivers’ returns at the time of unloading their catch or receiving fish. Regrettably, some get greedy and try to increase their profits by under declaring the weight of their catch.

In this case, if the alleged offences are proved, the persons involved stand to lose a $550,000 vessel, their quota, fishing gear and vehicle if convicted, as well as facing penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and/or fines up to $250,000.

ENDS

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