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Fishy deals result in historic fines

7 April 2008

The biggest ever fine handed down under the Animal Products Act 1999 has been welcomed by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

Last September NZFSA brought a case to court against Sea Resources Company Limited and Ian Kenneth William Pharaoh, charging them each with three charges under s128 of the Animal Products Act 1999 for having sold more than 1.5 tonnes of squid, despite knowing it had not been processed in accordance with the proper requirements. In a long running defended hearing, both parties were found guilty on all counts. At the sentencing in Wellington District Court on Friday, April 4, Sea Resources Company Limited was fined $60,000 per charge and Mr Pharaoh was fined $15,000 per charge. Both parties were also ordered to pay court costs of $130 on each charge. Fines and costs were handed down totalling $225,780.

Geoff Allen, Director (Compliance and Investigation) for NZFSA, said it was the first time this part of the Animals Products Act had been tested and he was very pleased with the outcome. "This is the largest fine handed down under the Animal Products Act to date," he said. "The hefty fines were appropriate for offending on such a scale". Together with the loss of the squid this result will send a strong signal to the industry about the dangers and consequences of this sort of activity."

The court heard how the vessels that had caught the squid were operating without the necessary registered risk management programmes and had landed and sold substantial quantities of squid in New Zealand. This meant that the product had an unknown safety status and consumption could present a risk to consumer health. It also heard that if the product were to be exported there would be additional risks to the integrity of New Zealand as a trading partner.
Significant quantities of the illegally landed squid had been seized and destroyed.

ENDS

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