Commercial fishing company loses $1 million dollar vessel
March 9 2007
An Auckland-based fishing company has had its fishing vessel, Aramand Sea, forfeited to the Crown after being convicted of charges of quota fraud in the Auckland District Court on March 8.
Aramand Sea Fishing Ltd, which owned the vessel currently berthed at Bledisloe Wharf is now in receivership. It paid more than $1million (Australian) for the Aramand Sea in January 2006.
The company was found guilty of a number of offences against the Quota Management System. These involved failures to report fish caught.
Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager, Ian Bright, says the company failed to file returns for several months last year, even though the vessel was catching and landing fish.
When the company went into receivership it owed the Ministry over $440,000 for fish caught by Aramand Sea but for which the company had not covered by quota or annual catch entitlement.
“This sort of offending strikes at the heart of the Quota Management System,” says Ian Bright. “Commercial fishers must file monthly returns so that the Ministry knows they are fishing legally and within their allotted quota or entitlement.
“Aramand Sea did none of these things but simply continued to catch fish without filing any returns. The Quota Management System, under which New Zealand’s fisheries, are managed relies on the timely and accurate reporting of catches. Failure by fishers to report in accordance with the legislation undermines the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries.
Under section 255C of the Fisheries Act 1996 (“the Act”), property used in the commission of the offence (in this case, the vessel Aramand Sea) and proceeds of the sale of fish found frozen and packaged onboard the fishing vessel (value $15,000 plus GST) are forfeit to the Crown upon conviction.