The Ministry for Primary Industries applauds the $10,000 fine handed out in the Manukau District Court to a woman who had admitted possessing and selling illegally imported edible bird nests.
Judge Blackie recently (2 December) declined Stacey Miao Yu's application for a discharge without conviction on 2 charges under the Biosecurity Act 1993. She had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges on 3 July.
MPI seized 500 grams of raw swiftlet bird nests (nearly 50 nests) after raiding Yu's Auckland property in June 2014.
Thought to provide health benefits to those who eat them, raw bird nests are made from the saliva of a species of swiftlet bird. However, they can carry a number of significant avian diseases not found in New Zealand.
"The defense counsel argued Yu was naive about New Zealand's biosecurity rules," says MPI Investigations Manager David Blake.
"MPI countered that by pointing out she had worked for an airline until very recently and her main business involved importing and selling cosmetics and commercially processed bird nests, which can be legally imported.
"In these roles she would have experienced New Zealand's biosecurity processes.
"MPI hopes that the conviction and fine handed down to Ms Yu deters anyone thinking of importing raw bird nest into New Zealand."
MPI has pictures of nests available. They can be requested by emailing email@example.com.