Japanese fishing master and manager convicted on “trucking” charges
20 December 2004
The master of the Japanese fishing vessel the Koyo Maru No 8 and the New Zealand based Japanese surimi project manager have both been convicted after admitting charges related to the misreporting of fish taken in sub-Antarctic waters during 2002. Sentencing in the Dunedin District Court was adjourned to 17 January 2005.
Forfeiture of the fishing vessel to the Crown (valued at over $11 million) resulted automatically upon these convictions.
The Ministry of Fisheries had earlier laid eight Fisheries Act charges against the two. Each had pleaded guilty to four charges of making a false statement in a fishing return (catch landing return).
The charges, which each carry a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine, and the forfeiture of vessel, relate to the false reporting of approx 692 tonnes of southern blue whiting caught during two fishing trips in August and September 2002.
"Trucking," or "area misreporting", involves the catching of fish in one Quota Management Area (QMA) but subsequently recording that fish as taken in another QMA.
This type of false reporting occurs for a number of reasons and can often relate to the fishing rights held and/or it's subsequent availability on the market. It is also often motivated by some financial benefit.
Both the master and the project manager were employed by the Japanese fishing company, Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd (Nissui), which was also the owner of the fishing vessel.
At the time of offending the vessel was in New Zealand under charter and fishing pursuant to a fishing permit held by Sealord Charters Limited.