Fisheries officers stopped a group of commercial fishers in the Thames region who were allegedly under-reporting catches and unlawfully supplying snapper to an Auckland fish supply business. In December, 45 fishery officers and New Zealand police executed searches in five locations across the Auckland and Waikato region.
More than $25,000 in cash was seized along with six commercial fishing vessels and a refrigerated truck. Approximately 800kg of undocumented grey mullet and kahawai were located, along with 230kg of undocumented snapper. Electronic devices including phones and computers were also seized and are undergoing analysis.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said eight people have been interviewed and could face prosecution, however, enquires were still ongoing when this issue went to print. “There are measures in place to ensure the sustainability of our fisheries, including accurate and truthful catch reporting,” MPI’s team manager of fisheries compliance in the western North Island, Andre Espinoza said.
“Those who don’t respect the rules will be appropriately dealt with under the law.” Fishery officers have increased patrols over the summer season and will be closely monitoring the area. Espinoza added that anyone caught breaking the law can expect to be held to account.
To report any suspicious fishing activity, call the MPI 0800 4 POACHER line – 0800 47 62 24