The owner of a longline tuna fishing company who failed to take a fisheries observer on a fishing trip was fined $7,800 at the Dunedin District Court, 16 February 2022.
It’s the second time in a year that Wayne David MacFarlane (44) who is the director of Tuna Fishing Company Limited, has been convicted and sentenced for offences under the Fisheries Act.
In February last year he was fined $15,000 for not deploying tori lines (seabird scaring devices) while fishing as required, says Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) regional manager fisheries compliance, Garreth Jay.
"It’s disappointing to have to bring the same person before the courts for fisheries offending. Mr MacFarlane was required to carry an observer to monitor his fishing and adherence to the rules as he was operating in an area considered a high risk to seabirds.
"Seabirds are a precious taonga and fishers need to do their part to help protect them. The majority of commercial fishers understand this and support the important role that observers play in monitoring fishers at sea." Mr Jay says.
On 9 April 2021, the Northern Odyssey left the Port of Dunedin with an observer aboard, and the vessel returned to unload its catch on 15 April. During the trip, the crew experienced mechanical problems with a refrigeration system which urgently needed to be repaired.
While in port, the skipper of the fishing vessel assured the observer that they would not be returning to sea without the observer. However, by 19 April the Northern Odyssey left its berth to go fishing without an observer on board.
Fishery officers contacted MacFarlane to have the skipper return the vessel to port and pick up the observer, but he refused.
The vessel finally returned to port on 26 April 2021 and the catch from the fishing trip was seized by MPI valued at $64,264.27.
Upon conviction, the Court ordered the proceeds of the sale of the catch be forfeited to the Crown along with the fishing vessel, Northern Odyssey, valued at about $1.1 million.
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