Bluff-based fishing company and director fined over $14,000 for pāua offences

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A Bluff-based commercial fishing company and its sole director have been fined more than $14,000 for pāua-related offences.

Aaron David Parker and his company, Fresh Is Best Ltd, were convicted and sentenced in a judgment released by Judge Melanie Harland last week.

The company was fined a total of $12,350 for contravening the Fisheries Act by unlawfully taking 199kg of pāua from Fiordland without holding the minimum annual catch entitlement (ACE) and by failing to correctly record or report the pāua when it was landed.

Parker was fined a total of $1,900 for his part as sole director of the company.

The charges arose after an inspection of the landing made from a fishing vessel at 4am by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fisheries officers in Bluff in May 2015.

MPI spokesman, Reece Murphy, says catch effort information must be completed before the end of each day that diving takes place and catch landing information must be completed immediately on landing.

"When he was spoken to, Mr Parker said he forgot his pāua catch effort landing return book.

"Ultimately, however, our inquiries at the time of inspection, found that no steps had been taken to record the landing of the pāua in any way.

"In sentencing, Judge Harland said she did not believe Mr Parker should simply be convicted and discharged, as applied for by the defence, because, in her opinion, it was important for the message to be relayed that directors of companies such as this are responsible for ensuring the regulatory requirements are met."

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