'Guilty' Pleas To Over Fishing & "Trucking" Charges
23 September 2002
An Auckland-based fishing company, Skaga Trawling Limited, and the skipper of its fishing vessel Kap Farvel, pleaded guilty to charges of fishing without quota, in the Christchurch District Court on Friday 20 September 2002. The skipper also pleaded guilty to making a false statement in a statutory fishing return. Additionally, Deep Cove Fisheries Ltd of Timaru pleaded guilty to the possession of fish taken without the authority of quota.
Fines totalling $36,500 were imposed on the two companies and the skipper, with the forfeiture of the fishing vessel Kap Farvel valued at approximately $3,000,000 also ordered by the court.
The highest potential fine for each charge is $250,000, plus possible forfeiture of vessel and catch.
The charges were bought by the Ministry of Fisheries, which alleged that analysis of four fishing trips in the Orange Roughy and Oreo Dory grounds during 1997-98 showed over fishing as well as misreporting of catch between management areas, a practice known as "trucking".
The charges relate to fishing by the vessel Kap Farvel, which is owned by the Auckland-based company Skaga Trawling Limited, a contract fish catching business, which catches deep sea fish on behalf of other companies, which hold relevant quota.
The Kap Farvel was fishing on behalf of Canterbury Bight Fisheries Ltd, a related company of Deep Cove Fisheries Ltd, which arranged quota for these species and held a commercial fishing permit for the 1997/98 fishing year.
From 1 October 1997 to 17 May 1998 the Kap Farvel made four trips fishing on Canterbury Bight's permit, fishing on behalf of Deep Cove Fisheries. The defendant Stephen John Krynicki was the skipper on each trip.
The Ministry of Fisheries alleged that by the end of this period the Kap Farvel had caught over 290 tonnes of Oreo Dory in excess of quota holdings.
On the fourth trip, from 10 April to 9 May 1998, the Kap Farvel's reported catch in Quota Management Area OEO4 was only 7,000 kgs greenweight of Oreo Dory, which the Ministry said was a token amount, given the areas the vessel had been fishing and time spent in these areas.
Between 10 May to 14 May the vessel moved into the Quota Management Area OEO6 area where it reported catching 98,952 kg of Orange Roughy, and 188,999 kg of Oreo Dory.
Documents seized by the Ministry of Fisheries during its investigation included communications between the Kap Farvel and Skaga Trawling Limited. Analysis of these communications showed a huge contrast between reported fish caught and the communicated fish caught.
The analysis showed the total amount of mis-reported catch was at least 165 tonnes of Oreo Dory (greenweight), which was caught in FMA OEO4 and mis-reported as caught in area OEO6. It was also clear that none of the 98 tonnes of Orange Roughy reported as caught in the ORH sub-Antarctic was actually taken in this area.
Mis-reporting is commonly referred to in the industry as "trucking"; the implication is that fish caught in one area (usually a Quota Management Area) is then "trucked" to another area and reported as caught there. Long-term or cumulative offending could cause major depletion of fish stocks.
For further information please contact:
Murray Pridham, District Compliance Manager, Dunedin.
Telephone 025 330 058
Glossary Of Fisheries Abbreviations
The term given to fish prior to any processing. The weight used to register catches against quota. QMS
Quota Management System QMA
Quota Management Area FMA
Fisheries Management Area TACC
Total Allowable Commercial Catch ORH
Orange Roughy (number following abbreviation shows the QMA) OEO
Oreo Dory (number following abbreviation shows the QMA) TCEPR
Trawl Catch Effort and Processing Return