Serious breaches cost commercial fisher his boats
07 March 2011
Failure to provide proper catch reports and fishing without a commercial fishing permit has cost 23-year-old Kawhia commercial fisher Leon Warren Lawrence his two fishing boats and 100 hours’ community service.
Ministry of Fisheries Waikato/ Bay of Plenty/ Coromandel Field Operations manager, Brendon Mikkelsen, says Lawrence’s offending was a serious breach of the fishing regulations.
“We rely on New Zealand’s Quota Management System to keep our fisheries in a healthy state,” he says. “A key part of that system is that commercial fishers report exactly what they have caught and when.
“For almost a full year, Lawrence repeatedly failed to do this, despite being reminded by Fishery Officers, warned by our office and even being shown how to complete the forms by our staff.
“Unfortunately he simply ignored all the warnings and advice and then compounded his offending by continuing to fish when he no longer had a licence to do so.”
Lawrence appeared in the Te Awamutu District Court on 2 March and was convicted of four charges under the Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2001 and two under the Fisheries Act 1996.
The court sentenced him to serve 100 hours’ community service.
The court also ordered that his two fishing vessels, the 4.9-metre Uglee with a 40 hp Yamaha outboard, and the 4.5-metre Mapere, be forfeit to the Crown.
Mr Mikkelsen said the vast majority of commercial fishers work well within the Quota Management System, keep to the rules and provide all of their required returns on time.
“However, there is a very small minority who do not and the public need to be assured that the Ministry will continue to deal with any, like Lawrence, who do not stick to the rules.”