Two fishermen fined and vessel forfeited at Thames District Court
18 January 2005
Two commercial fishermen received substantial fines and a fishing vessel was ordered forfeit to the Crown when they appeared on unrelated charges at Thames District Court yesterday.
Michael Joseph Macedonski faced charges relating to the unlawful selling of fish to other than a Licensed Fish Receiver on three separate occasions between January and March 2004. A total of 340kg of grey mullet and 320kg of kahawai had been sold to two fish dealers in Thames.
The defendant, a commercial fisherman operating in the Firth of Thames and Port Waikato represented to both dealers that he was able to use a Licensed Fish Receivers license that was held by his company. His company did not hold any license.
The Fisheries Act 1996 and regulations require commercial fishing permit holders to declare all fish caught and landed on a daily and monthly basis. All fish taken commercially must be landed and disposed of to a Licensed Fish Receiver only, with the exception of wharf sales where further regulations apply.
Total fines and costs of $10,520 were imposed and the fishing vessel "Ally" with an estimated value of $28,000 was ordered forfeit to the Crown. The vessel has been in the possession of the Ministry of Fisheries for a number of months following seizure by fishery officers.
In sentencing, Judge Spear noted the offending was deliberate, he accepted the fish was disposed of on the black-market and if Macedonski appeared back before the courts for similar offending he could expect forfeiture of his quota and banning from the fishing industry.
District Compliance Manager for the Ministry of Fisheries, Brendon Mikkelsen commented that it was only a matter of time before this offending was detected and the outcome should serve as a warning to any other operators disposing of fish outside of the Quota Management System.
Also appearing at Thames District Court yesterday, a commercial fisherman based out of the port of Coromandel, Neville Peter Lang, faced nine charges in total; four for omitting material information in Monthly Harvest Returns, four for providing Monthly Harvest Returns more than a month after they were due and one of providing Catch Effort and Landing Returns after the date they were due.
Lang was given a final warning by Judge Spear along with fines and costs totalling $6,170.