Fisheries offending leads to heavy fines
29 September 2009
In the Tauranga District Court on 28 September, former local commercial fisherman Andrew John Signal was fined over $11,000 for failing to provide fishing returns to the Ministry of Fisheries.
Signal entered guilty pleas to 14 charges relating to fishing trip and monthly returns that he was required to provide to the Ministry detailing his fishing and declarations of catch.
He had previously been warned in relation to this offending several times, including in writing, but had persisted in failing to provide these returns.
Signal told Judge Crosby he no longer had the boats or a permit and only processed fish.
Fisheries prosecutor Morgan Dunn told the court that these returns were required from commercial fishers on a monthly basis to provide information to the Ministry to help with its management of the Quota Management System (QMS).
Judge Crosby told Signal there were no excuses for his actions, which fell into the category of negligence. The judge said that the fishery was a finite and valuable resource where even small operators must comply with the rules.
Bay of Plenty/Waikato District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen said it was “very disappointing” that Signal had not heeded the original warnings about providing fishing returns.
“Late returns or non-returns have the potential to impact and undermine the integrity of the QMS, which is the cornerstone of our fisheries management. These actions affect the property rights of quota owners and the catches of recreational and customary fishers,” Mr Mikkelsen said.