Pacman Gobbles up blackmarket networks
14 March 2002
PACMAN GOBBLES UP BLACKMARKET NETWORKS
The Ministry of Fisheries' "Operation Pacman" was successful beyond his hopes and even his dreams, National Compliance Manager, Dave Wood, told staff today.
Pacman got off to an outstanding start at 2am on Wednesday morning, and by mid-afternoon on Thursday at least 85 people had been apprehended, and Fishery Officers had seized more than 30 vehicles, nine vessels, including three commercial fishing boats and various other equipment, along with a tonne of paua and 1500 (individual) rock lobster.
On Thursday the operation focused on parts of the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, the Wairarapa and Wellington, and while final figures were still coming in it was clear the operation had more than met its objectives, said Mr Wood.
Those apprehended over the two days of the operation will face charges under provisions of the Fisheries Act 1996 relating to engaging in commercial activity in contravention of the Act. Inquiries were continuing in a number of further cases.
The success of the operation was based on the exceptional work of the two special duty Fishery Officers who had gone undercover for six months both buying and selling paua and rock lobster on the black market and identifying the networks involved.
All 140 Fishery Officers and many other staff involved in the operation had given their all, working long hours in often difficult conditions over the two days.
The other outstanding feature of the operation had been the superb support provided by the Defence Forces, and in particular the RNZAF, and the NZ Police who had contributed over 100 officers to the first crucial day of the operation. Mr Wood also commended the support of security consultants, Corporate Risks NZ Ltd, who proided the security infrastructure for the operation.
For further information please contact
Alan Meek, Communications Manager, Ministry of Fisheries
Operation Pacman HQ, Ohakea
Tel 021 822 588