A Blenheim based fishing company and its director have been sentenced under the Fisheries Act 1996 after pleading guilty to making false and misleading statements on fishing returns and documents relating to fishing trips made over a 17 month period from May 2010 to September 2011.
Dennis Graham Roach appeared in the Wellington District Court on Monday 17th June and was convicted on 38 charges under Section 230 of the Fisheries Act 1996. Judge Hobbs sentenced Roach to fines totalling $35,000 as well as ordering both of his fishing vessels, FV Victory 11 and FV Kathryn forfeit to the crown with a total of $33,000 to be paid for their redemption. Roach’s company, D and N Fishing Ltd was also convicted on 38 Section 230 charges and discharged.
Roach is the sole director of the Blenheim-based fishing company D and N Fishing Limited, which operates two trawlers around the top of the South Island and the lower North Island. Roach either skippers these vessels himself, or acts as shore based manager with other people skippering the boats on his behalf.
Under an operation codenamed ‘Operation Portsmouth’ the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) investigated Roach and/or his employees for making false statements and material omissions in the various fishing returns required to ensure the sustainable harvest of New Zealand fish stocks.
Roach was found to have been misreporting his catch as being caught in another quota area, as well as failing to declare fish that had been landed and sold. MPI estimated that in total the offending involves between 51 - 57 tonnes of fish, with a deemed value of $77,913.
MPI Nelson/Marlborough District Compliance Manager Ian Bright says this type of behaviour undermines the Quota Management System (QMS) which is reliant on accurate and honest reporting by the industry.
“A total disregard for the QMS as revealed by this operation places the sustainability of our fisheries at risk. This result shows that the Ministry will not tolerate this type of offending”.
“The Ministry will continue to utilise all compliance resources available to detect and prosecute those commercial operators who defraud the Quota Management System”
Fishery Officers ask the public and industry to report any suspicious activity in our fishery by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are kept confidential if necessary.
For information about recreational fishing limits visit www.fish.govt.nz
You can also take advantage of the free mobile services. Text ‘app’ to 9889 to download the New Zealand fishing rules smartphone app. Or text the name of the species you are fishing for (e.g. crayfish, paua) to 9889 and you’ll receive the size and limit number by return text. Texts are free.