Substantial Fine For Illegal High Seas Fishing
27 August 2003
A Wellington-based fishing company and its skipper have received a substantial fine for fishing illegally on the high seas, without the authority of a high seas fishing permit.
The Wellington-based fishing company Pescatore Fishing Ltd, and its skipper, Anthony Martin, pleaded guilty to the offence when they appeared in the Tauranga District Court on 25 August.
The company was fined $7000, plus court costs of $130, and also forfeited the $20,388 proceeds of the offending, while the skipper, Anthony Martin of Maketu, was fined $2000. A decision in relation to the forfeiture of the New Zealand registered 28 metre vessel, FV San Domenico, valued at around $750,000, was reserved.
The statutory requirement for a vessel to have a high seas fishing permit is the compliance responsibility of the flag nation, in this case New Zealand.
The FV San Domenico was fishing on behalf of Pescatore Fishing Ltd during the 2001/02 fishing year north-east of the Bay of Plenty. It fished approximately 220 nautical miles off the coast of New Zealand, and, although this area is outside of our Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nm), New Zealand has a responsibility to control its vessels in these high seas areas in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Law of the Sea Convention and related agreements, to which New Zealand is a signatory, place specific obligations on countries to develop and enforce measures aimed at conserving high seas fisheries resources.
A high seas permit is issued under New Zealand's Fisheries Act on the basis of the applicant's previous conduct and, amongst other things, if the applicant is considered to be a responsible operator.
Once issued, it identifies the vessel's presence in the area, and obliges the operator to work within a framework of requirements and notifications with the Ministry of Fisheries Control Centre. This provides for the collection of accurate fishing data, which allows for more informed and effective management of this area in the future.
For further information please contact
Gary McAneny, Fisheries Officer, Ministry of Fisheries Tauranga
Telephone 027 4939 966