Fisher caught selling rock lobster on black market
4 May 2009
Fishery officers have apprehended a 50 year old retired commercial fisherman from Whangarei in relation to serious offences against the Fisheries Act.
The man had been selling recreationally-caught rock lobster to members of the public from the boot of his car at two industrial premises in the Whangarei port area. The lobster were being paid for with cash and ranged in price from $15-$30. It is believed that up to 10 rock lobster were sold.
Fishery officers received a tip-off from members of the public last week that these illegal fish sales were occurring. As a result, the man faces serious charges of selling rock lobster with fines of up to $250,000 and the forfeiture of his vehicle and dive gear.
“Fish can only be purchased from a licensed fish premise or a commercial fisherman,” said District Compliance Manager Darren Edwards.
“Members of the public should be extremely mindful of people offering to sell any type of fish or shellfish from any unmarked vehicle or for cash only.
“Not only can the person selling the fish illegally be prosecuted, but those buying illegal fish can also be prosecuted and fined up to $250,000.”
Mr Edwards said that fish caught and sold illegally undermines the Quota Management System and the sustainability of New Zealand fisheries for present and future generations.
“People who are offered fish they think might not be being sold legitimately, or who see any suspicious activity should be report this to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224),” he said.