MFish seizes a second foreign charter fishing vessel
20 December 2007
The Ministry of Fisheries seized a Korean fishing vessel, the Melilla 201, in Dunedin on Tuesday. The action follows MFish’s boarding and subsequent seizure of another Korean fishing vessel, the Melilla 203, and its catch, on 7 December also at the port of Dunedin.
Both vessels are fishing in New Zealand waters under charter to Trans Pacific Fishing Ltd, a Tauranga-based New Zealand fishing company.
The vessels are owned by Dae Hyun Agriculture & Fisheries Co Ltd based in Korea and have been fishing in New Zealand waters for a number of years.
The investigation concerns misreporting catch from one fishing area to another, a practice commonly known in the fishing industry as ‘trucking’. The main species involved is ling, with the alleged offending potentially involving hundreds of tonnes of fish.
Investigation Manager Mike Green said, “This investigation is making steady progress but it is clear that further analysis from the many documents involved will be required to determine the full extent of the alleged offending”.
While happy with the progress of the investigation, Mr Green is also disappointed that some elements of the commercial industry offend in this manner.
“The penalties for this type of offending can be heavy but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to deter some who obviously weigh up the financial benefits to be gained by their actions and decide to take that risk,” he said.