West Coast fishers in court
12 June 2009
On Wednesday 10 June 2009, Raylene Susan Abbott and William Scott Campbell pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Fisheries Act in Greymouth District Court.
Six charges related to providing false information in reporting and recording documentation required by law to be kept by commercial fishers in respect of the landing and disposal of fish.
The offending was detected in July 2008 after surveillance of the commercial fishing vessel The Roman.
Fishery officers observed The Roman returning from trawling to the Greymouth wharf. Over several days, fish was removed from The Roman by Campbell and taken to a butcher’s shop to be filleted. The fish was then sold door to door around Greymouth by Abbott.
Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager Peter Hyde said commercial fishers cannot sell their fish direct to the public in this way. “All commercial fishers must sell or dispose of their catch to a licensed fish receiver such as Talleys or Westfleet,” Mr Hyde said. “A small amount of fish can be sold at the wharf in a transaction we call a wharf sale.”
The fishery officers found that the wharf sales reported by Abbott and Campbell never took place.
“By reporting that fish was sold by way of wharf sale when no wharf sales occurred and not recording correctly the door to door sales, there was no way of knowing whether the quantities of fish reported to the Ministry of Fisheries were a true representation of the fish caught,” Mr Hyde said.
“This type of offending undermines the operation of the Quota Management System that governs the management of New Zealand fisheries.”
Abbott and Campbell also pleaded guilty to using their other vessel, The Kainga, for commercial fishing while it was unregistered and the fishing permit had expired.
As a result of these convictions both The Roman and The Kainga are forfeit, together with two vehicles used to sell fish. There will be an opportunity to argue for the return of the vessels and vehicles at a sentencing hearing in September.