Fish Shop Owner and Commercial Fishermen Prosecuted for Black Marketing Fish
22 November 2004
As a result of information received in August 2002, the Ministry of Fisheries began a surveillance operation into the activities of two commercial fishermen, David Michael Day and Neil Raymond Moody, operating out of Waikino in the Bay of Islands.
Over a two month period surveillance was conducted on the two commercial fishermen using the method of set netting from the commercial vessel "Kuaka". The fishermen landed their catch in a remote and secluded area of Waikino. During the two months of August and September these two fishermen failed to declare 95% of their catch.
They had an arrangement with a fish shop owner, Myung Ki Kim of Otara Fisheries where they sold all their undeclared fish. These offenders had an elaborate black market operation where Day and Moody would catch fish, unload it without being seen, prepare false dockets and transport that fish through to a residential address in Ruakaka. There they would be met by the fish shop owner, Kim. The fish would be transferred from the fishermen's truck into Mr Kim's van, an exchange of money would take place, the fishermen would provide a false docket to Mr Kim, Mr Kim would then transport that amount of fish through to his fish shop in Otara and sell it through his retail outlet.
As a result of their offending, Mr Day faced nine Fisheries Act charges, Mr Moody faced eight, and Mr Kim faced seven. Mr Kim pleaded guilty to the seven charges on 7 November 2003 and was fined $2,000 on each charge, a total of $14,000 and Court costs of $910. The fishermen Day and Moody pleaded guilty to fisheries charges on 16 November 2004. They were fined $2,000 on each charge. The defendant Day had a total fine of $18,000 plus Court costs of $1,250.00. And the defendant Moody was fined in total $16,000 plus Court costs of $1,250.00.
Mr Kim also had forfeit to the Crown his Toyota Hi Ace van used to transport the fish, his cellphone and $955.00 from the sale of the illegal fish.
The defendants Day and Moody had seized from them three dories and a 30ft steel vessel "Kuaka".
The total value of equipment seized from the two fishermen is estimated to be $90,000.
This was elaborate black market operation that the Ministry believes had been operating for over a year. In the two-month period of surveillance the Ministry observed seven unloadings of fish from the vessel "Kuaka" by the commercial fishermen Day and Moody. It's estimated from those seven unloadings that a total of approximately 2,500kg was landed illegally to the fish shop owner, Kim.
The Ministry views this type of offending as extremely serious and will take all steps required to bring persons offending in this capacity to the Courts. The Fisheries Act now includes the provisions under Section 233 whereby offending of this type would now carry a maximum penalty upon conviction of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000.