Fishing company fined $36,000 for misreporting catch
30 April 2008
A Tauranga fishing company was fined $36,000 yesterday after being convicted of three charges of misreporting catch involving 5.1 tonnes of snapper and gurnard.
RMD Marine Limited pleaded guilty to the charges of making misleading statements in its Monthly Harvest Returns, before Judge Harding in the Tauranga District Court
The charges related to fishing returns filed in October, November and December 2005.
Senior Fisheries Prosecutor Morgan Dunn told the Court that the Ministry of Fisheries accepted that there was no intent by the company to defraud the Quota Management System (QMS) and that it was a case of sloppy record keeping,
Judge Harding said that the fine effectively removed any profit from the offending and was a clear indication from the Court, even if the offending was accidental to start with.
Ministry of Fisheries Investigation Manager Mark Nicholson said outside court that filing misleading returns undermines the QMS, which is the key to sustainably managing our fisheries.
Mr Nicholson said the QMS is based on setting annual catch limits for each fish species and rigorously monitoring how much fish is being caught against these limits.
“The system relies on fishers accurately and honestly reporting their catch to MFish every month.”
“Sloppy, slow or inaccurate reporting by fishers all threaten the sustainability of New Zealand’s fish stocks, as fisheries managers are left making decisions with flawed information. The Court is clearly indicating that such practices will not be tolerated.
“These fisheries belong to all New Zealanders, and protecting their sustainability is something MFish takes very seriously.”