‘Obstructive’ commercial fisherman loses licence, banned from fishing
19 June 2007
A commercial fisherman who refused to co-operate with fishery officers has been convicted and fined $3000 and banned from all forms of fishing for three years. This means 53-year-old Larry Grigson from Papakura cannot fish either commercially or recreationally for that period.
Grigson was convicted of failing to comply with the lawful requirement of a fishery officer when he appeared in the Manukau District Court on June 15. It was the fourth time he had appeared in court on fisheries-related offences and his third conviction.
On this occasion, Grigson refused to answer questions or meet with fishery officers following a routine inspection at a stall operated by his company, Seafood Express, at the Panmure Market. During that inspection, fishery officers found that there was no documentation on hand to show that the fish had been legally caught and reported.
Fishery officers then tried on several occasions to meet with Grigson to inspect this documentation but he regularly refused to meet with them.
In sentencing Grigson, Judge Cooper said that it was clear that he (Grigson) had “engaged in a deliberate pattern of behaviour intended to obstruct the fishery officers ... set against a history of similar obstructive behaviour.”
The banning order means that Grigson cannot, for three years, hold a commercial fishing permit of any sort and cannot engage in any fishing or any activity associated with the taking of fish, aquatic life or seaweed. This means he cannot fish from a boat, a beach or a ramp, dive for scallops or crayfish or gather any shellfish or other seafood, even if it is solely for his own use.
Breaching a banning order is considered a serious offence, carrying a maximum prison term of 12 months or a maximum fine of $100,000.
Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager Ian Bright said that although the banning would be a severe punishment for Grigson, it was appropriate in this case.
“The on-going success of the quota management system relies on commercial fishers and fish sellers keeping up to date, accurate records of the fish they catch and the fish they sell and making these available to us to check.
“Grigson deliberately made it impossible for us to check whether his fish had been legally caught or was being legally sold.
“This sort of behaviour is totally against both the spirit and the letter of the law and I’m sure all law-abiding commercial fishers will welcome his conviction and banning from their industry.”