Recreational fisher caught selling flounder
November 5, 2004
A recreational fisher caught selling flounder to two South Auckland fish shops had his car, boat, trailer and nets seized and could face fines of up to $250,000.
The man had been under surveillance by Ministry of Fisheries officers for several weeks and had been observed setting his net on the Manukau Harbour several days a week during that time.
Fishery Officers also followed the man on several occasions and observed him entering the two South Auckland fish shops carrying one or more bags.
On Thursday, November 4, fishery officers followed the man into one of these shops and searched the bag the man had been carrying. It was found to contain a number of flounder and, although the man denied that he was selling the fish, owners of both fish shops admitted they had been purchasing fish off the man for $7 per kilogram for approximately 12 months.
Fishery officers then seized the man's car, boat, trailer and net and a decision on what charges he will face will be made shortly. If found guilty, he could expect to face the permanent forfeiture of these items as well as fines of up to $250,000.
Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager Ian Bright says the Ministry views the sale of fish by recreational fishers as a serious breach of fisheries' law.
"Recreational fishers who sell their fish undermine not only the very successful quota management system but also the very basis under which the resource is managed for all New Zealanders, both now and into the future.
"We have absolutely zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour and those caught will not only be vigorously prosecuted, but if convicted they can also expect to lose anything they have used in the commission of that offence. In this case that means the offender's car, boat, trailer and nets."
Mr Bright said it is timely to warn all businesses dealing in fish that buying from a recreational fisher or any person who walks in off the street is a serious offence, carrying large fines for those caught and found guilty.