Un­recorded cray cost $8250 and boat

Coastal News - - News -

A Whi­tianga com­mer­cial fish­er­man and his com­pany have been fined more than $8000 for fail­ing to record al­most 500kg of cray­fish caught in the un­der­pres­sure CRA2 fish­ery.

Wil­liam John Maclardy, 36, was con­victed and fined $2250 when he ap­peared in the Thames District Court ear­lier this week. His com­pany, Maclardy Fish­ing Lim­ited, was fined $6000.

Maclardy’s fail­ure to record the tak­ing of cray in a catch ef­fort land­ing re­turn (CLER) was dis­cov­ered af­ter Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries fish­ery of­fi­cers boarded his fish­ing ves­sel off the coast of Whi­tiangi for a rou­tine ves­sel in­spec­tion in early Jan­uary this year.

Be­cause the ves­sel is a day­fish­ing ves­sel, catch ef­fort land­ing re­turns are re­quired to be com­pleted for each day’s fish­ing.

Dur­ing the course of the in­spec­tion, it was found that Maclardy hadn’t com­pleted the re­quired CELRS for nine days between De­cem­ber 22, 2017 and Jan­uary 8, 2018.

The to­tal amount of cray­fish un­recorded was 483kg — all of which was still held by the com­pany at its on shore hold­ing fa­cil­ity.

MPI spokesman Adam Plum­stead says the of­fend­ing is dis­ap­point­ing par­tic­u­larly given the fact it hap­pened in CRA2 — a fish­ery where cray is in se­ri­ous de­cline and has re­cently had re­duced To­tal Al­low­able Catch lim­its im­posed to help the fish­ery re­build.

“This fish­er­man should have known bet­ter,” says Mr Plum­stead. “The in­tegrity and main­te­nance of the Quota Man­age­ment Sys­tem is de­pen­dent on com­mer­cial fish­ers ac­cu­rately re­port­ing their catch within re­quired time­frames.

“Ac­cu­rate re­port­ing also en­sures the le­git­i­macy of prod­uct sup­plied to the mar­ket. Fail­ure to do so opens the sys­tem up to abuse. That’s why MPI views all such breaches very se­ri­ously. This type of of­fend­ing won’t be tol­er­ated.”

Mr Plum­stead says Maclardy ad­mit­ted he knew he had to com­plete the re­turns daily and put for­ward a num­ber of per­sonal cir­cum­stances for fail­ing to do so.

“The sen­tenc­ing judge said there was no sug­ges­tion that the of­fence was com­mit­ted be­cause of greed or for com­mer­cial rea­sons and noted that Maclardy pleaded guilty at the first op­por­tu­nity.”

Due to a power out­age at the com­pany’s hold­ing tank fa­cil­ity, 220kg of the cray­fish in ques­tion died and were seized and dis­posed of by the min­istry. The rest was sold for $24,130.90 and the funds were for­feited to the Crown. Maclardy’s $100,000 fish­ing ves­sel, Smooth Tor­quer, was also for­feited to the Crown.

PHO­TOS / SUP­PLIED

Part of the un­recorded cray­fish.

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