Statement from the Ministry of Fisheries on observer report of severed arm in trawl net
2 April 2009
In an attempted April Fools Day joke a Ministry of Fisheries observer on a deepwater fishing vessel operating at sea made a report of a severed human arm being found in a trawl net.
This report was taken seriously at the time and the New Zealand Police were involved and were considering a search and rescue operation before the observer advised that the report was intended as a joke.
As soon as the Ministry of Fisheries became aware that this incident did not actually occur the Police were advised immediately to avoid any further wasting of Police time.
“The Ministry of Fisheries observer programme is tasked with maintaining an independent presence at sea to support the sustainable management of New Zealand’s fisheries and marine environment. The observer programme relies on its reputation for integrity and professionalism to get this important job done” said MFish Chief Executive Wayne McNee
“This is an isolated incident that is very disappointing” said Mr McNee
As this incident will be the subject of a staff disciplinary process and could also be the subject of a police investigation the Ministry of Fisheries will not be making any further comment at this time.